Congressman kick starts 3D printed gun scare

As Defense Distributed told the world its 3D gun printing business may be ready for launch by the end of the year, one Congressman is urging a blanket ban for open sourced firearms.

The idea behind the technology is to share blueprints for plastic weaponry that people will be able to download for free and ‘print’ using a 3D printer.

Rep Steve Israel, BoingBoing pointed out, is concerned that the weapons will not be subject to the usual checks, that is, they will be easy to sneak through metal detectors.

MeetThe112th reports Israel cited the Undetectable Firearms Act, in 1988, when the idea of being able to print a weapon was purely fantasy. It’s going to expire December next year, and Israel believes with the advent of downloadable guns, it needs another renewal.

“It is just a matter of time before these three-dimensional printers will be able to replicate an entire gun,” Israel said. “And that firearm will be able to be brought through this security line, through the metal detector, and because there will be no metal to be detected, firearms will be brought on planes without anyone’s knowledge.”

Suffolk county police chief James Burke warned that as prices for 3D printers get cheaper, he predicts more guns “in our children’s bedrooms, in basements and in dorm rooms” – suggesting that having access to weapons in a country with 88.8 firearms per 100 people  will immediately lead to more gun crime.

It is a shame that so much attention has been given to the so-called ‘wiki weapon’, and not other potential uses for 3D printing, including, among other things, the ability to print medicine.