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21
Dec

3-D printers will enable criminals to easily bypass gun control

3-D printers are already being used to “print” replacement parts for antique cars. Jay Leno simply “scans” his old parts. Makes plastic replicas. Then when it is perfected, he prints a fully functional metal replacement part. Photo from Popular Mechanics.

In a few years, advances in 3-D printing will make it impossible to disarm criminals.

by Kyle Rogers

There are over 250 million legal firearms in the United States. This does not even count the unknown number of guns smuggled into the country by gangs and illegal aliens. Even if the government was somehow able to confiscate all of them, criminals would still get guns to terrorize the public with.

It is a fact that tens of thousands of guns used in crimes around the world are homemade. Some countries are notorious for homemade guns like India and South Africa. However, homemade guns are even used to commit crimes in the United States.

Most 3-D printers only create plastic components. However, experts say this technology could be used by criminals to make a convincing looking gun capable of firing at least one live round. The technology is only getting better. The plastic printers can also be used to make molds for making metal components. A shop producing illegal guns for criminals could dramatically up it’s game with the addition of a 3-D printer.

There are even 3-D metal printers. They create finished metal components. Large criminal operations will surely become users of these devices. With a 3-D metal printer and a metal lathe, criminals could potentially obtain serious firepower no matter how strict gun control laws are. Even if the US restricted 3-D metal printers, criminal enterprises could make the guns in Mexico and send them across the border. The US government purposefully keeps border security lax, and illegal contraband crosses into the United States daily already. The Mexican drug cartels have already been known to build homemade tanks and armored personnel carriers. They will certainly make use of this new technology/

One man even constructed an AR-15 using a receiver made on  a 3-D plastic printer. He says the gun has been fired over 200 times and the receiver has held. This technology would make it easier for criminals to illegally obtain an AR-15 or even a fully auto M-16.

3-D plastic printers are already being sold to the public for as little as $900.

With emerging 3-D printer technology a small metal shop looking to arm criminals may be able to go from making crude, unreliable guns to full auto M-16s, machine pistols, and Kalashnikovs.

It is absurd to think that gun control will keep criminals from getting guns. Gun control only disarms law abiding citizens and makes them better victims.


  • Puggg

    Hitch, at least in the first world: DRM. There might be a way for first world governments to require some DRM key or sig before any 3D printer prints anything, and they might deny the key if the system requests one to print any firearm.

    http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/10/12/1424250/drm-could-come-to-3d-printers

    This doesn’t mention guns, but you know they’re already thinking about it.

    • http://cofcc.org/ Kyle Rogers

      They are talking about purging/banning gun part schematics from the internet. One of the 3-D printer makers announced that they would purge schematics for gun parts from their online database. However, they have 3D scanners now. Someone could easily make their own CADs files off an existing gun. Even if the machines had spy software that had to be enabled to use the device, there would be ways to defeat it. Security measures on technology keep getting defeated in pretty short amounts of time.

    • http://cofcc.org/ Kyle Rogers

      I just read the description of the technology your referring too. It sounds like it would be extremely easy for a counterfeiter or illegal gun manufacturer to defeat.

      Basically some government agency would take existing copyrighted/gun parts CAD files circulating the net and add them to a database of disallowed CAD files. They could also create schematics for all the parts of the most popular guns and add them. There would be at least two ways of defeating it. Alter the part enough so that it no longer registers a match, or defeat the security measure. There would be multiple ways for a counterfeiter or illegal gun manufacturer to defeat the DRM security. Either disable it completely and unlock the machine. Or connect the machine to computer that sends back fake signals that allow contraband to be printed.

      Considering the massive counterfeiting business in China. There would be thousands of top software engineers in China alone working to defeat the DRM system in each new machine. Online hacker sites would be posting instruction on how to defeat the systems shortly after each new system came out.