Gun Control Meets its Match: Technology

In one of the most valiant efforts at attacking windmills, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) is trying to ban the production of ammunition magazines with 3-D printers.

Aside from the Constitutional issues–Rep. Israel’s efforts are an infringement not just on the Second Amendment, but also the First Amendment–this is an exercise in both futility and stupidity.

First of all, 3-D printer technology has the potential to be a great economic game changer. How? It will soon be possible for almost anyone–with sufficient skill–to become his or her own manufacturing company with low capital investment. This will spawn innovation on so many fronts, and drive real economic growth by literally creating home-grown manufacturing in ways no one would ever have thought possible.

Secondly, the 3-D printer will become for firearms what the World Wide Web was/is for pornography.

For those who are old enough to remember, there was a time that both sides of the pornography debate were in a stalemate over the “community standard”. As a result, more liberal communities allowed lots of “adult bookstores” whereas others used zoning laws to keep such establishments in check. When people wanted to purchase porn, they had to buy it in public unless they could afford to pay through the nose for cable television.

But the World Wide Web fundamentally changed the game: pornography became easily-accessible to the masses. Today, a large amount of it is available for free. In fact, the pornography industry–for many years–literally drove the development of technology for the Web. Early advancements in e-commerce, for example, were driven by the demand for porn on the Web.

(NOTE: I am not defending porn here; just stating the reality for what it is.)

3-D technology is that same type of game changer for manufacturing of all types, including firearms. While the technology is itself very pricey and still in its infancy, it will go the way of computer technology: precision and potential will increase dramatically and prices will also fall.

This will spawn a whole new wave of innovation in a variety of products, including firearms. The production of all-polymer weapons, customized ammunition, and accessories of all types, will be possible for anyone with the imagination.

And it will be almost impossible for the gun controllers to contain.

That is because if you cannot control the printing press, then you cannot control what one produces with that press, no matter how hard you try.

And given that the government will soon run out of money, their capacity to regulate anything will greatly diminish, as the capacity of the masses to innovate and produce will expand.

It will be checkmate.

It is Science!!!

Well, not really. Vox, however, illustrates a point that I spent no small amount of time making during my tour of duty at Southern Baptist Theological Cemetary::

Clearly, a bright line needs to be delineated between scientific evidence that has been independently replicated by experiment, scientific evidence that could be independently replicated but has not been, and scientific evidence that cannot be independently replicated by experiment. And furthermore, it is necessary to stop giving the latter two types of scientific evidence, or more properly, potential scientific evidence, the same level of credence that is given to actual scientific evidence that has been reliably and independently replicated.

I recall a spat I had with one of the leftists who clamored that anyone contesting the anthropogenic global warming dogma was either ignorant or stupid. I pointed out to him that, when you cut through the B.S., there are basically three types of scientific “information”:

(1) Scientific fact: that which has been demonstrated and replicated experimentally;

(2) Scientific opinion: hypotheses which have not, but potentially (key word there) could be–experimentally verified;

(3) Scientific opinion that gets reported as fact: hypotheses that have not been proven through experimentation, but nonetheless get reported as Holy Writ.

Examples of (1): Newtons Laws of Motion; the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics.

Examples of (2): various theories regarding the behavior of subatomic particles. On one hand, there are observational bases for the hypotheses; OTOH some of those hypotheses are yet to be conclusively verified through experimentation.

Examples of (3): anthropogenic global warming; various theories of evolution; premises that embryonic stem cells hold the promise for the cure for everything from jock itch to the deadliest cancers.

When arguing on such matters on this space, I have a simple warning: don’t bother coming over here spewing opinion and then telling me “it is science” if you have no experimental basis to show.

I will call BS every time.

Whether you are arguing for macro-evolution, global warming, or even young earth creationism, we require honesty here:

(1) There is a huge difference between that which has been demonstrated by experimentation versus mere opinions about observations. We will never begrudge you for your opinion, but don’t come over here telling us how “scientific” it is if it is not.

(2) We must be honest about the limits of science. Science is great for understanding natural phenomena that can be duplicated via experimentation. That understanding has driven the development of no small number of technologies. If you can read this, you are enjoying the fruits of science.

OTOH, there are things that science CANNOT do for you.

Science cannot prove there is a God, let alone which model of God–Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu, etc., or even no God–is valid. I can point to science to make a rational case for faith in a higher authority, but it would be less than intellectually honest to give you an article of faith and then tell you it is scientific.

Science cannot establish the veracity of miracle accounts, be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. Again, those are articles of faith.

At best, archaeology can help establish facts, but even that has limits: you are limited to what has been discovered to date. 150 years ago, Biblical skeptics touted the lack of archaeological evidence for Biblical accounts. Since then, archaeology has been quite favorable–rather than destructive–to Biblical accounts. In the world of Biblical scholarship, conservatives have made advances that liberals never thought possible 50 years ago.

Even then, archaeology is not science. What you are dealing with is observable data of varying quality, not experimental data that is reproducible.

AT&T Sinks Even Deeper

While I enjoy my iPhone, I have no use for AT&T. They have engaged in false marketing, their networks are of dubious reliability, and–quite frankly–the only thing they have going for them is their exclusive contract with Apple for the iPhone.

That, too, is about to change.

There are lots of new phones entering the market. HTC has a couple fine Android phones. Google has its Nexus One, which–in my estimation–is overpriced. One thing I am noticing, though: other than the iPhone, AT&T is not offering the leading-edge phones. And, given that they are about to lose their exclusive hold on the iPhone, it remains to be seen what moves they have up their sleeve.

And one more thing: when my contract is up, I’m ditching the iPhone for a Droid.