With the 3d printing industry on the rise, companies and hobbyists alike are unleashing the creativity within. We have seen innovations left and right that we never knew was even possible. Something we never thought we would see is the ability to make weapons from a printer, but that day came just two years ago and with it a lot of controversy and issues politically. Conspiracy Clothing Co. cover a brief history of 3d printed guns, the good, the bad and the ugly. As a side note lots of folks looking for 3d printers agree these to be useful.
The Government and Their Increased Gun Control
The world was first alerted that 3d printing guns was becoming a reality in the year 2012 when a company announced that it was going to release 3d printed gun plans; that company was Defense Distributed. This idea could change the world forever because no longer would we need to go to a store to buy a gun; we could print them in our own homes. AR-15s with 600 rounds and guns with 30 rounds (M16s) were also produced by Defense Distributed.
Because of recent events and the government wanting more control over weapons, the releasing of these guns plans were obviously a huge deal, and the government did not remain silent. In 2013, the United States Department of state ordered them to remove the designs and instructions from their website. The government really doesn’t like the idea of people printing guns on their home printer because of their wish of increased gun control.
There Were No Types of Laws Banning The Printing of 3d Guns
We’re surprised that there were no types of laws banning the printing of 3d guns before it happened, then again, do you really think the government thought someone would actually do that in the near future? It was all theoretical until Defense Distributed released gun plans… and then everything got real quick; everyone started asking questions and many thought what they did was wrong. A lot of people were worried that everyone would start printing guns like crazy, unregulated, and that could be bad for the safety of society.
The organization that was the most concerned was the Department Of Homeland Security as they thought everyone’s safety would be compromised as a result of advances in 3d printing. It is difficult to manage laws when people are doing things in their own home noiselessly, and Homeland Security knows it. Homeland Security was also concerned that the thousands of people who legally could not own a gun would now have more access than ever to the weapon of their choice. Even if giving away or selling 3d printing files for weapons is illegal, it will be hard to regulate them digitally as it is hard to regulate things like music, movies, video games and software files.
The files were downloaded thousands of time upon publication, and not just by residents of the Untied States, before Defense Distributed got around to removing them. While the gun laws in the US aren’t too strict yet, other countries are, and now those citizens have a means to do a lot of illegal things. Countries with high number of downloads include the UK, Germany, Spain and Brazil. Even though these files are down, they are still widely available on file sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay.
Some US legislators have proposed regulations on 3d printers so that they can’t be used to print guns. If we allow the banning of certain objects on 3d printers, this could really hurt the creativity of the enthusiasts in the 3d printing community, people would continue to print guns anyway, and it could even violate the right to freedom of speech.
We still can’t believe that early in the year 2012, the printing community was talking about the idea of 3d printed guns but everyone thought it was many years out. Little did everyone know, but Defense Distributed was miles and miles ahead of the game and getting ready for their big release. Nobody thought in just a couple of short years, thousands and thousands of people would be printing their own, untraceable plastic guns.
It is NOT illegitimate to print your own weapons at home as we have been reminded the spokeswoman for the Bureau of ATF. The issue is mostly that plastic guns can go through a metal detector without getting discovered. While it is not illegal to print your own gun, it IS however not legal to own a firearm that can’t be detected by metal detectors.
The Emerging Society of Anonymous 3d Printing Groups
Time to talk about the fun stuff now: the emerging society of anonymous 3d printing groups! Hundreds of people are continuing to work on the development of 3d gun printing files free download to share with the world, even though it is attracting negative attention. Most of the users in this community do not share their names as they don’t want a target to be on them. There’s an anonymous guide on the market titled 3D Printable Firearms that has a list of working guns, how well they work and the cost to purchase and create.
One plastic gun is called the Liberator that can only shoot one bullet and costs about $9.30 in plastic to print. While the Liberator only shoots one bullet, another gun in this guide is the Liberator Prepperbox that shoots 4 bullets instead and doesn’t even cost much more money. Another gun only costs $2.41 in in materials to produce, shoots a .22 bullet and is named the Reprringer. The Reprringer is based off the Derringer which is the firearm that ended the life of Abraham Lincoln; just a fun little fact for you.. In addition to the cost of materials of things like filament, some guns also need a screw or spring to function… what a deal breaker!
There are a lot of gun lobbyists that think the gun is quite laughable. It’s true that 3d printed guns are not yet as stable and durable as real guns as they are vulnerable to cracking, overheating, breaking, and other issues after just a few uses sometimes. Another group of folks that despite how cool the innovation of 3d printed guns is, think they are silly little toys for people who aren’t that serious about guns. Despire some of these drawbacks, you can’t deny the pros of 3d printed guns: they pass through metal detectors, look far differently from a traditional gun, are simple to print, and can still end a life if it comes down to it. In this paragraph alone there are a handful of benefits and drawbacks so it’s hard to come to a conclusion if printing guns is good or bad.
Some worry that hobbyists and kids will start printing guns. Many 3d printing companies have been interviewed to find out of they worry that their printers will be used for bad things (like kids printing guns). The majority of 3d printer companies decline the opportunity to comment and others (including MakerBot) express that they ban sharing 3d printer gun files on their web site. There is no way though that any 3d printing company could actually stop people from printing guns once they obtain the files.
If you’re the type of person that believes there should be no or little regulations on guns, then this is all pretty good news. It seems that it is becoming easier and easier to print your own weapons, the files are available if you really want them, and nobody will know if you own a 3d printed gun. For every person that is trying to regulate the 3d printing of guns, there are three more working hard to create gun files to share and equip others with.
A good thing to note though however is that printing guns is not nearly as simple as it sounds; you can’t just click the print button and a gun will pop out shortly after. Still it requires a substantial amount of mechanical expertise so the standard hobbyist or kid probably will not have the capacity to print their own gun without extensive knowledge and research. Printing a single-shot 3d gun can still take up 5 hours or more, even if you 110% know what you are doing. On the other hand, kids are more technically advanced than ever before and where there’s a will there’s a way.
What Does The Future For 3d Printing Look Like?
So, taking this all into consideration, what does the future for 3d printing look like? It really could go either way of more freedom with printing or higher control. It will be interesting to see if guns are more prevalent than ever, if government finds a way to crack down on the technology, or if it really won’t be a big deal. Although printers can now be purchased for as low as $300, the media may be blowing it out of proportion. I’m sure we’ll see the answer unfold over the next few years or so!