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.

Author: Amir on January 20, 2013
Category: Engineering, Gun Rights, Technology
5 responses to “Gun Control Meets its Match: Technology”
  1. Matt Strictland says:

    What they’d have to do is control ammuntion. Gun control is pointless, ammo control OTOH well, smokeless powder and modern primers aren’t that simple to make.

    of course that will fail too there are billions of rounds out there,being bought as fast as hey can be made (litterally) plenty more to be stolen and making ammo is about as hard as making meth and there is no shortage of that. The percusor chemicals are easier too.

    Its also heavy handed enogh to provoke real troubles as well.

  2. But making magazines is already pathetically easy with a sheet metal brake (in extremis you could use a brick and a hammer), spot welder (maybe get by with a soldering iron) and a hydraulic punch (in a pinch you could use hacksaw and file).

  3. MarkyMark says:

    Where this 3-D technology will REALLY come in handy is the manufacture of the lower receiver. To get one now, you have to go through an FFL, same as if you were buying a full gun. Now, with the 3-D printers, you can get your own AR-15 kit, and make the lower receiver yourself. If you can get the plans for any gun, you can make it yourself now, thus BYPASSING the gun grabbers-yes!

    • Amir says:

      Absolutely. It’s not just about magazines; this is about the manufacture of weapons themselves. And this technology will help with existing weapon types, and also with the development of new weaponry.

  4. Charles says:

    I was talking about this six months ago; I got the typical “what the *** is he talking about” look. Now it’s a subject for legislators. The real game chamber is going to be — laugh if you will — directed energy weapons. Guns in all but the mechanics of how they work. The combination of sputtering technologies and 3-d printers will make high capacity capacitors something that can be made in the criminal’s lair; and already solid state lasers such as are used in burning DVDs can be ganged together. We haven’t begun to see the interesting developments that will occur when the highly motivated, the highly paranoid, or the just curious put their minds to work in the campus fabrication lab making small scale gas lasers. Just a thought. A serious one, by the way.

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