Weapons have several uses: hunting, exercising terror & compulsion over others (by government and lone or organized sociopaths), and defense against the latter and tyranny by freedom-loving individuals. None of these is going to change by hysterically banning printed weapons.
Ho flippin' Hum. Can we get back to covering ENGINEERING and DESIGN issues and quit playing with milky-toast lamby-pie leftist political worries?? I am not joking. Every engineer & designer I know [roughly 250] really find this kind of article/commentary a complete waste of 1's and 0's. B O R I N G and Irrelevant. Grow up already.
@Cabe: Organized crime has no problem operating chop shops for stolen cars, so I don't think they'd have any problem making receivers for firearms, if they were so inclined. They probably already have the equipment. An AK-47 receiver is a relatively simple stamping. If there were money in making them, they'd be doing it already.
Right now, it's so easy for organized criminals to get illegal weapons that they have no motivation to make them themselves. I don't see this situation changing in the near future.
I could be wrong, but I don't think gangs are going to be buying up 3D printers anytime soon.
Yes, anyone with a machine shop can make gun parts. But that requires a lot of investment in time, money, and learning. With 3D printers, they are very inexpensive and require very little skill to operate. Load the optimized file and hit "GO." I think the main issue is accessibility.
I am also from Chicago, and (illegal) guns are very easy to come across. But with printed parts, no one ever has to know what you are up to. Sometimes... the law enforcement can stop illegal street sales of firearms. But, will they bust someone for having a 3D printer? Doubtful.
It is always the object that kills and never the responsibility of the user? So politicians consume political clout to villify the object and the person that pulled the trigger is a victum of the 'gun' culture.
The printing of any object should be interesting and worthwhile. However, trying to repeel open and honest research of legal persons and the subjugation of such will lead to hidden and subversive research from persons of questionable goals. I would rather see this in the open.
I couldn't agree more with popuptarget. I know several people who have fully automatic weapons they made illegally... without a 3D Printer. Let's face it, it is far easier and less expensive to get the parts you need for your automatic weapon from other sources, 3D printing them is done strickly for fun. Let's not get too carried away with this story, after all, no matter what you invent, some idiot will find some illegal, immoral, or dangerous way to use it.
It's not as though criminals have any difficulty obtaining firearms in the U.S., even in jurisdictions that have very tough gun laws. I strongly doubt that many criminals will go to the trouble of using 3D printers to make guns, when they can get guns so easily already.
Growing up in Chicago, I used to sweep bullet casings off the sidewalk in front of a community center where I was a volunteer. I lost two friends to gun violence before I graduated from high school. This was in a city that had a total ban on handguns.
When my dad was growing up in rural Michigan, there was a gun in every home, yet shootings were unheard of.
We would be wiser to focus on the causes of violence, rather than on access to firearms. I don't think 3D printing hobbyists are our biggest problem.
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