Well, the US FedGuv has finally waded into the debate on 3D printed guns. Wielding the sort of bludgeon that authoritarians like Bloomberg and Schumer can only dream of, the US Department of Defense Trade Controls has shut down Defense Distributed via the dubious power of ITAR. ITAR – International Traffic in Arms Regulations – is supposed to prevent US citizens and corporations from sending overseas technologies and designs for advanced weapons and the like that might aid enemies of the US. But as it’s being used here, it is being used to prevent the likes of Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Whatever from being able to build unreliable, expensive zip guns.
Much as it pains me to link to Infowars, they seem to have the details.
Here’s one of many things to consider: if the exact same files had been created by, say, a Canadian, and were hosted on a Canadian website, the US FedGuv would have neither the power nor the interest to shut them down. Why would they? Printed guns are, and will be for some time, substantially crappy devices compared to properly manufactured firearms. However, as printing technology evolves, and as design capabilities and experience progress, printed guns will become substantially better, potentially eventually becoming competitive or even superior in some ways. So what the government is doing, in effect, is turning over the future of not only weapons development but advanced manufacturing systems and basic entrepreneurship itself to foreign powers.