Rep. Steve Israel is apparently pretty scared. You see, he’s calling for a ban on 3-D printer made guns. Apparently, just days after a gun was fired using parts from such a printer, Israel is terrified that someone might build a gun using the technology:
Israel (D-Huntington) said a group of young men recently built and fired six shots from a “Wiki Weapon” — an AR-15 assault rifle partially assembled with parts from a 3-D printer, Israel said.
“It is just a matter of time before these three-dimensional printers will be able to replicate an entire gun,” Israel said at a news conference at the security checkpoint at Long Island MacArthur Airport. “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.”
Of course, there is still the argument that if there were more guns on planes, terrorists would actually be less likely to try and hijack planes. Of course, silly things like “logic” don’t have a place in legislation.
Another aspect of this “logic” that’s getting missed? So far, there are no 100 percent 3-D printed guns so far as anyone knows. That’s right. Israel is freaking out about a gun that doesn’t exist. He’s not the first though, since there have been laws against this off and on for over 20 years.
Author and Boing Boing partner Cory Doctorow had this to say about the reality involved in such a law:
However, what Rep Israel doesn’t say is how he hopes to accomplish his goal. Firmware locks for 3D printers? A DMCA-like takedown regime for 3D shapefiles that can be used to generate plastic firearms (or parts of plastic firearms?). A mandate on 3D printer manufacturers to somehow magically make it impossible for their products to print out gun-parts?
Every one of those measures is a nonsense and worse: unworkable combinations of authoritarianism, censorship, and wishful thinking. Importantly, none of these would prevent people from manufacturing plastic guns. And all of these measures would grossly interfere with the lawful operation of 3D printers.
Doctorow is dead on right about the difficulties. Frankly, it would be kind of impossible, especially since more and more people are building technology similar to this in their own homes.
Yes, it may make it difficult to keep guns out of particular places, but let’s take a look for a moment at those places. There have never been mass shootings in places where there are a lot of guns. Gun stores, gun shows, and gun ranges, for example, have never been the target for maniacs or terrorists.
By contrary, schools and malls that are “off limits” to guns seem to be the preferred targets for these people. Maybe Isreal should look at that and realize that since limiting the technology is virtually impossible, maybe the secret is to make it irrelevant? If laws preventing people from carrying weapons were gone, there would be no reason for someone to try and use 3D printers to make undetectable weapons…and good people are far more likely to be armed.
Of course, that wouldn’t look like the good congressman was “doing something” about this scourge.