Guns and firearms have been in hot debate lately. It is a hot topic issue with a lot of people nowadays. There has been a call to action from many for congress to pass new laws that would make it harder for criminals to get their hands on guns. But, a lot of people make the claim that criminals will be criminals and will find any way to get guns.
This topic has made its way to being a technology debate as well. There has been much improvement in the way of 3-D printers and they are becoming more accessible for the average person to get one. Most of what the people will be using 3-D printers for is recreation and being able to create new things at home. But, there are ways for people to abuse the technology. Schematics for guns are now available online on sites like pirate bay and if you have the required printer you would be able to print your own guns at home. This could become a nightmare for law enforcement and government agencies to know who have guns, since you will not have to register the fire arm, and they will not know how many have been created.
The type of gun that is most popular right now, the Liberator, is just a single shot, .22 caliber firearm. The main problem with this type of gun is that the only metal part in the gun would be the brass on the cartridge and this would most likely not be enough to set off a metal detector. So, if you had multiple guns there could still be a great danger.
Recently congress has passed another 10 year ban on plastic guns, but as people become better at hiding their internet activity from the government and getting better using 3-D printers, the sky is virtually the limit for criminals. This type of technology also opens the gate for cyber criminals. There is a need for someone to create the schematics for the guns and that requires a person with relatively good understanding of open-source design. But, should the person creating the schematics be held responsible if it gets into the wrong hands?
Though the single shot “Liberator” is the most popular right now, there is also designs for AR-15 lowers and large capacity magazines. There in lies 2 new debates on plastic guns. Right now you are able to buy an 80% metal AR lower and not have a license for it, because in the eyes of the law it is not a “gun” yet. So should it be alright to be able to download and print an 80% plastic AR lower?And the other debate is on magazines, specifically those that have a 30 round capacity. Many gun rights activists believe that this will be the first major ban on “traditional” firearms. Many law abiding citizens think that since they can go to the store and buy a 30 round magazine that they should be able to download a schematic for a magazine, since you can’t do anything with a magazine alone. And some believe that magazines should be exempt from the plastic gun ban.
Should there be a ban on all gun related 3-D printing? or should it be a case by case basis? also, is it ethical for someone to create a document that could be used to print a gun? does this ban hinder technological advancement when it comes to 3-D printing?