3D Printed Guns Become a Social Issue Lately

Written by Fiona    2022-07-11

With the recent assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, it has been noted that the handmade gun used by the killer may have used the technology of 3D printers, and many people are curious as to what 3D Printing is and whether 3D Printing technology is already manufacturing weapons. From 3D printed guns to 3D printed gunpowder, should we have restrictions on 3D printed guns? What are the views of different groups in society? And how are governments controlling and legislating them? This article will introduce you.

3d printed guns

Image Source: Dieter Reinisch

Part 1. What is a 3D printed gun?

In the simplest terms, it's any firearm that includes components manufactured by 3D Printing technologies. Some models like the can even be manufactured almost entirely on a 3D printer. Others require many additional parts, which are often metal. For example, many 3D printed gun blueprints focus on a weapon's lower receiver, which is the chassis of a firearm. In fact, 3D printed guns are nothing new to the military culture-loving community. 3D printed guns are a cheap and fast way to get weapons. Unlike what we might expect, the information about 3D Printing is not on the dark web nor challenging to obtain. You can download drawings of a range of printable semi-automatic rifles, carbines and pistols from mainstream social media sites like YouTube in just three clicks. There are even a number of online celebrities who have attracted thousands of followers on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram with their 3D printed gun tutorials. But it's no simple task for the average person to print a firearm. The 3D printers require meticulous setup - the component that extrudes plastic must be calibrated, software must be downloaded to convert designs into 3D printable slices, and the printer must undergo a slew of upgrades to reliably print weapons parts, which themselves require precise construction to ensure they can contain the explosion from a gunshot. 3d printed gun blueprints, 3d printed guns

Image Source: Print Shoot Repeat

Part 2. People Who Support 3D Printed Gun

Many of those who support 3D printed guns are also the people who fight for the right to own guns, for instance, there is a community of 3D printed gun enthusiasts has sprung up online. Matt Larosiere is part of that online community. Mr Larosiere believes governments are part of the threat individuals face, for governments to endanger a person or infringe on the public's freedom. "And the best way to keep our bodies secure is to have effective mechanisms to defend ourselves."

But supporters of 3D printed guns fall into several different camps. Some believe concerns about homemade weapons are overblown. They believe that tech enthusiasts primarily use 3D guns and that printing them is technically demanding and has a high failure rate.

Others believe that 3D printed guns will help them protect themselves in a conflict with the government. In short, they believes  the same threat exists anywhere civilians are primarily unarmed.

And in the face of a government investigation into the 3D printing enthusiast community, demanding the removal of profiles on how to make 3D printed guns, The gun enthusiast disagreed with social media companies removing some of his community's profiles, saying: "They're just sharing their work and promoting the cause of human autonomy."

"I think it should be celebrated and not vilified."

Although the supporters of 3D printed guns have different reasons , they all show their affirmation of the 3D printed guns and 3D printed weapon, and objectively they contribute to the promotion of 3D Printing technology and help the 3D Printing industry scale-up.

Rajan Basra is a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College London. He has been closely following the advent of 3D printed guns. "It's a very simplified view to say that with a couple of hundred pounds you could 3D print a gun," Dr Basra explains.3d printed guns, 3d guns

Image Source: A 3D-printed gun called the Liberator is seen at Defense Distributed, Aug. 1, 2018, in Austin, Texas, USA. - Copyright  AP Photo/Eric Gay

Part 3. Groups Opposed to 3D Printed Gun

3D Printing technology is an advanced technology for the benefit of humanity and has a unique role to play in the aerospace and biomedical industries. Still, when terrorists use it to make 3D printed guns, 3D printed weapons, and 3D printed firearms, it can become a weapon of destruction. So, some politicians have expressed their concerns about it. According to Mary McCord, a former U.S. attorney and prosecutor in the Department of Justice's National Security Division. "We know from a counterterrorism perspective that there's great interest among terrorist organizations in being able to have workable, usable, efficient, functioning 3D printed weapons."

For example, in May 2021, two men and a woman were arrested in the British town of Keathley as part of an investigation into right-wing terrorism. All three were charged with possessing components of 3D printed weapons, and a year later, two of the three were convicted of terrorist crimes. According to the data, 42 per cent of 3D printed gun related arrests occurred in 2022, with approximately 44 arrests.

But regulation regarding 3D printed weapons and ammunition is not well regulated. Not only is there no clear legislation banning 3D printed firearms, but there is also no systematic and accurate method of identifying 3D printed drawings. The alarming number of arrests in recent years is drawing the attention of lawmakers and security forces. 

Still, progress is slow, so society, in general, is concerned about 3D printed weapons will make terrorist attacks easily and endanger their safety.

3d printed guns, 3d printed weapons, 3d peinted firearms

Image Source: Met Police

Part 4. Attitudes of Some Countries for 3D Printed Gun

The U.S. federal government currently has no explicit laws stating that 3D Printing of firearms is not allowed without a permit. Still, a few states have laws, such as New Jersey, you are supposed to obtain a federal manufacturing license before 3D Printing a gun. The state also criminalizes the manufacture, sale, or possession of undetectable firearms, and made it illegal to purchase parts to make an unserialized gun. Several states, including New Mexico and Virginia, are considering bills that would enact similar restrictions.

Europol organized a conference on 3D printed firearms in The Hague last May. Some 120 participants from 20 countries discussed the latest challenges facing security forces in addressing this threat. 3D printed firearms are a technology that is constantly evolving, countries are actively exploring how to develop policies that will both protect the safety of their populations and facilitate technological development. They are actively working together to try to reach consensus and maintain the stability of the international community.3d printed guns, 3d printed firearms

Image Source: 3dprint.com


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