There Is No Basis for the Panic over 3D Printed Guns

Printed guns are not some dangerous emergency that requires government action.

A one-shot plastic pistol, the basic type of printed guns, is arguably less of a danger to society at large than knives or cars.

It makes no sense to call these toys “downloadable death” or to act like they require an exception to the Second Amendment. Besides that, people already make their own guns without a computer. A hobbyist interest in new technology should not be demonized.

David Harsanyi writes, “Let’s Debunk The Misleading Panic Over 3-D Guns.”

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The newest bugaboo of the gun control crowd is the bloodcurdling “3-D printer gun.” Or, as Alyssa Milano, a self-styled expert on these matters, might call it: “downloadable death.” Reporters at CNN ask, “3-D guns: Untraceable, undetectable and unstoppable?” Even President Donald Trump tweeted that “he’s looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

It makes plenty of sense.

First of all, “3-D Plastic Guns” aren’t being sold to the public. Nor are “downloadable firearms” or “ghost guns.” These things don’t exist. Data, code, and information is being sold to the public. There is no magical contraption that creates a new gun on demand. Sorry.

Even if such a machine existed, however, the Trump administration hasn’t suddenly begun “allowing” Americans to fabricate guns in the comfort of their homes, as so many stories have intimated. It’s never been illegal to make your own (non-NFA) weapons in the first place.

The pretext for this freakout is news that the State Department reached a settlement with Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, which offered digital designs for 3-D printed guns, not guns. The Obama administration had maintained that the company’s printer code violated the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, which had little to do with a law-abiding hobbyist milling a lower receiver for a commercially popular civilian firearm in his suburban Pennsylvania garage.

(As of this writing, a federal judge in Seattle has issued a temporary restraining order stopping release of downloadable blueprints for 3-D-printed guns. This prior restraint on speech won’t last long if the First Amendment still means anything.)

Milano may not be aware that Americans have been building their own three-dimensional guns since before the revolution. The Kentucky rifle was created by German and Swiss blacksmiths living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania […].

Read the entire piece.

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