3D Printing Guns

By Deane Barker on July 30, 2012

The End of Gun Control?: Someone has printed a gun-ish object out of a 3D printer.  Forbes opines on what this means for gun control.  (Of course, you could always make your own gun and get around laws, but this just makes it easier and better.)

So, can you print a gun? Yep, you can and that’s exactly what somebody with the alias “HaveBlue” did.

To be accurate, HaveBlue didn’t print an entire gun, he printed a “receiver” for an AR-15 (better known as the military’s M16) at a cost of about $30 worth of materials.

The receiver is, in effect, the framework of a gun and holds the barrel and all of the other parts in place. It’s also the part of the gun that is technically, according to US law, the actual gun and carries the serial number.

When the weapon was assembled with the printed receiver HaveBlue reported he fired 200 rounds and it operated perfectly.

The point here goes far beyond guns, and it gets pretty interesting: government tries to regulate physical things by concentrating on their “choke points.”  With a gun, it has to be made by someone, and sold by someone else, so the government regulates at those points.

But with 3D printing, the choke points go away.  When anyone can make a gun, you don’t just have a couple hundred manufacturers and a couple thousand retailers to worry about – now the guns can come from anywhere, and this simple fact makes them more or less impossible to regulate.

In short, what the Internet did for information, 3D printing is going to do for things.

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