A few weeks ago, Kerry forwarded on to me an article from Wired: “I Made an Untraceable AR-15 ‘Ghost Gun’ in My Office–And It Was Easy” by Andy Greenberg.

Kerry and I talk about gun control and gun control issues and laws, but at the end of the day, I don’t think either of us have strong opinions about getting to America to either end of the firearm spectrum. Those being a complete and total legal ban or complete absence of legal regulation of firearms. Instead, we wander through the middle.

First off, this post isn’t going to be primarily about gun laws, but I’ll share a few thoughts.

  • I own a shotgun for “home defense” knowing statistically it’s unlikely that I’ll ever successfully defend my own home with it.
  • I share the anger with the pro-gun folks when ever the media refers to a gun as an “assault rifle” when it shares the same characteristics with a “hunting rifle”, but just looks scarier. The AR-15 is a great example. You don’t have to go very far to find a “hunting rifle” that can put out the same kind and number of bullets as the AR-15, but isn’t dressed up to look military.
  • I share the eye rolling annoyance when people claim we need to protect the 2nd Amendment tooth-and-nail-and-rifle so that we can raise up against the government should it become tyrannical, after all that’s the spirit of that Amendment, isn’t it? Find your nearest military veteran, ask him or her their opinion on whether a untrained, undisciplined, rag-tag band of American citizens with small arms is going to be able to stand up to your average detachment of trained, armed soldiers from any branch of the military. This ain’t Red Dawn people.
  • I exist in a paradoxical belief that this country needs less guns, but wouldn’t ever vote for something that achieves that.

Moving on past that. The media will with some regularity latch onto a story about some guy (it’s always a guy, isn’t it?) that is 3D printing a gun or gun parts or some sort of weapon. This is usually presented in a way to add more terror to their readership or viewership. 3D printing weapons in America (and probably a good deal of the world) is currently something that I really don’t care about. Why? Getting weapons in this country is easy. 3D printing a few more doesn’t change a thing.

3D printing is the future. Right now, you can spend a few minutes on Make and see the sort of cool and useful things that can come out of a 3D printer. A bit of time on your search engine of choice will find some great stories about people using 3D printers to make customer prosthetics for people who would of otherwise been up a creek unable to use the paddle or financially unable to buy a commercially available prosthetic. And the prices of these things are coming down dramatically.

Home fabrication seems to be the next step in consumer goods. Scaring the public with their possible uses by the handful of people who are out to do no good will only snap the lid closed on Pandora’s Box before we can get to the really good stuff.