Sunday, February 17, 2013

Making Gun Parts With 3D Printers

While quoting Milton's Areopagitica no less...

The lads at Defense Distributed seem to be engaged in clever agitation at the intersection of the American First and Second Amendments, federal regulation, the internet, and printer technology. Their reference to Milton's "For the Liberty of unlicenc'd Printing" mark this whole kerfuffle as a political act rather than a criminal conspiracy. They have published to the web a 3D design for the the frame - the serial numbered registered part - of the AR-15.  Never mind you still use conventionally manufactured parts to assemble a complete firearm.  The have also posted the 3D printer instructions for a 30 round AR-15 magazine they snarkily call the "Cuomo."  Again, never mind that the spring must be purchased from the lawful makers of such things.  This is the internet equivalent of the Black Panthers openly carrying arms into the California State Assembly in 1967. It wasn't illegal but no one had thought of doing it before. As a recent article in the Economist points out, in the United States it is not illegal to manufacture an otherwise legal firearm for one's own use. Using a 3D printer to form gun parts is different in degree but not in kind from leaving a hardware store with all the bits and pieces needed to assemble a "zip gun" or more. There are already rifles and pistols with receivers or frames made of polymer.  There are already many rifle and pistol magazines made of polymer.  Not sure how far these anarcho-technologists are willing to take this controversial exercise but it might earn a couple Master's degrees for the participants. In the mean time criminals in the States have no trouble acquiring firearms with much less effort.