Yes folks, it’s happened. As crazy as it may seem… it is possible that weaponry can be printed. With the creation of a new form of technology there is always a down side. The use of the 3D printer for weapons has been a discussed possibility for everything from gaming dice and simple manufacturing to medicine and military use.
Now understand me correctly, these weapons are not your class A firearms. in many cases the guns printed only lasted a handful of rounds or less. The article The 3D-printed gun: When is high-tech too hot to handle By David Cardinal gives a bit more information on the problems of printing 3D guns. Plastics simply are not the kind of quality materials that guns need to hold themselves together. But he also brings up the main issue:
Few issues generate as many opinions as gun ownership. Almost every country in the world recognizes the special importance of firearms and regulates them. In the United States, the right to own a gun is written into our constitution as part of the famous Second Amendment in our Bill of Rights. Tempering those rights are a slew of state and federal regulations including laws requiring those who manufacture weapons for sale to be licensed, the weapons they create to be numbered and registered, and the guns to be readily detectable. 3D printing is threatening to turn the existing system of regulations on its head.
It’s quite true. Rep Steve Israel has called for a renewal of the ban on the company Wiki Weapons from offering gun printing services claiming that the guns cannot be regulated nor detected by traditional methods, which in turn can cause tracking terrorism and other kinds of organized crimes to be nearly impossible. This article entitled The world’s first 3D-printed gun By Sebastian Anthony from ExtremeTech.com sums up the issue quite nicely:
In short, this means that people without gun licenses — or people who have had their licenses revoked — could print their own lower receiver and build a complete, off-the-books gun. What a chilling thought.
But hey, that’s the ambivalent nature of technology, the great enabler. In just the last few months, 3D printers have also been used to print organs, blood vessels, and drugs. In a few more years, when 3D printers move beyond plastic resins, who knows what we’ll be able to print.
For every piece of technology we create, there is usually a number of pros and cons. In many cases the pros are larger in number than the cons, but at the same time the few cros are much larger problems than we realize. At what point do we critically regulate the uses of certain technologies, and when do we draw the line between the 1st Amendment and the well being of the population? Are we really being enabled and is it taking us in the wrong direction?