The gun debate in America is still a sensitive one, with people digging deep trenches on both sides and both are very passionate. The invention and proliferation of 3D printing is adding a new element to this with their ability to build guns and the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF, is becoming more and more concerned over the potential implications of this technology.
“When these 3-D firearms are manufactured, some of the weapons can defeat normal detection such as metal detectors, wands, and it could present a problem to public safety in a venue such as an airport, an arena, a courthouse,” said Richard Marianos, who is the assistant director at the ATF.
As well as their ability to go through metal detectors, 3D printed guns also present dangers to those who really do only want to use it for self-defense, or to go out hunting. “Some of the polymers at the low-grade level actually could blow up in the hands of an individual if they tried to use one for any type of purpose,” Marianos said.
Pushing this issue even further is the Texas based company known as Defense Distributed. They have posted information online that shows someone with a 3D printer how to make a gun, using only plastic materials. The company and it’s founder, Cory Wilson, were featured in a Vice documentary, which can be viewed here. Wilson believes this information goes beyond the Second Amendment right.
“If we make a Second Amendment argument it’s all the way, it’s too the limit, you know,” he said during the documentary. “But I don’t like to make it about the Second Amendment or gun control at all. It’s more radical for us. Like there are people from all over the world downloading our files and we say, ‘Good. You should have access to this.’ ”
It’s hard to know if there will ever be a true breaking point on this issue. The more recent school shootings have only had the effect of driving both sides deeper into their trenches, though I do hope that common ground can be eventually found.