The 3D printed gun debate which captivated headlines in the fall of 2018 may feel like it is far behind us, but the battle rages on in the courts and throughout the country where individuals who own 3D printers are worried as to whether or not one day, they’ll wake up and suddenly be labeled a criminal for something which the day before was perfectly legal.
In a recent episode of the BlazeTV series Kibbe on Liberty, the topic of 3D printers and 3D printed guns was discussed in more detail than you’ll probably have ever seen on any major cable news outlet. However, is this lone episode capable of changing the minds of what seems to be the majority of Americans who don’t support 3D printed guns? Perhaps yes, if you know what it is in fact what these people are opposing (assuming they have a full understanding of the issue in the first place, which never seems to be discussed longer than a soundbite).
The subject matter expert in the episode was 3D printing expert Matt Larosiere, a first-generation American and firearms aficionado who believes the root of the opposition to the 3D printed gun is simply mass ignorance. Larosiere’s argument is that the pushback towards this groundbreaking technology, which was only very recently commercially available for the public, which he claims is a net positive for humanity in terms of creative discovery and innovation, is being met by a wall of uneducated opinionists.
From politicians backed by the anti-gun lobby to politicians backed by the gun-manufacturer lobby, the combined ignorance, and disinformation by self-interested politicians and left-leaning media outlets creates an environment where it is incredibly difficult to get the truth out. The target of the coordinated outrage is typically aimed at the first 3D printed (and completely plastic) Liberator pistol. The Liberator is a bulky, unreliable hunk of plastic no serious person with an ounce of firearms experience would ever use in a defensive situation.
Larosiere continues on during the interview to point out that people aren’t afraid of the frail, one-shot plastic gun which might explode in a user’s hands like the Liberator. The general populace is typically more terrified by weapons deemed as “assault rifles” such as the AR-15, even though the term “assault rifle” isn’t a real term in the first place. An example Larosiere provides is that if someone attempted to print a full rifle out of plastic such as an AK-47, the rifle would explode from the pressure of the gas from the expelled ammunition alone making the whole thing worthless.
Back to the Liberator, a brief study of the plastic handgun shows that the barrel size, cartridge size, uneven rifling due to the difficulty of milling the plastic component (which deforms after a single shot) all make the Liberator a difficult pistol to even attempt to conceal compared to regular handguns criminals can more easily buy off the street.
Aside from the manufacturing of the 3D printed parts, politicians and lobbyists have attempted to go after sites disseminating the files for these firearms which were available wide open on the internet way before 3D printers even existed. Larosiere pointed out that in order to stop the exchange of those specific files, the federal government would have to essentially shut down the internet and “effectively restrict the technology” as a whole. The costs in that situation would be far more dangerous than simply allowing things to continue as they have thus far.
Lastly, the major piece of information most news outlets leave out is a reminder that people have been crafting their own guns and making their own custom components for as long as guns have existed. Larosiere commented on that fact stating that “It’s legal to make a gun that follows the National Firearms Act” as long as you don’t sell them, and the primary reason for that is they don’t want you to evade licensure and tax laws that would come with gun manufacturing and then selling them on the open market.
The episode ends with a reminder as to why the Second Amendment was enshrined in our Constitution in the first place- to defend the citizenry from that of a dangerous government so that the people would have a way to defend their liberties, which sadly far too many Americans today take for granted. Evidence of what a world without private ownership of firearms can be seen easily today, such as Venezuela for example. In June of 2018 alone, hundreds of Venezuelan civilians were murdered by the Security Forces a very short time after privately owned guns were confiscated by the government.
All in all, the true animosity behind the 3D printed gun has nothing to do with the access to firearms themselves, but with the spin and deceit aimed at this issue from those that fear a population with the knowledge of how to craft and maintain arms themselves out of their own self-interest. Still, like many issues, the biggest enemy of 3D printed guns isn’t necessarily the government which seeks to outlaw them, but the ignorant populace that has already chosen to oppose them without arming themselves with the reasons as to why they do so in the first place.
You can watch the full short-documentary episode titled The Right to Bear 3D Printers today on Free the People’s website.