First 3-D printed gun challenges government oversight: Anarchist uses technology to render laws irrelevant3 min read

Angel Ibanez, Staff Writer

Imagine living in a world where you could go online, download a blueprint of a gun, print it in the comfort of your home and have it be virtually undetectable. No, this isn’t a farfetched idea; this is a possibility right now as long as you own a 3-D printer.

The technology creates an even easier format and access for would-be-criminals to acquire untraceable weapons, essentially thwarting public safety.

“Fifteen of its 16 pieces have been created inside an $8,000 second-hand Stratasys Dimension 3D printer,” according to Forbes Magazine. “A machine that lays down threads of melted polymer that add up to precisely-shaped solid objects just as easily as a traditional printer lays ink on a page.”

Cody Wilson, the 25-year-old University of Texas law student, was the first to design, print, and fire a .380 caliber bullet using an all-plastic gun that was made in a span of four hours; its firing pin was the only store-bought piece.

A self-described libertarian and anarchist, Wilson’s goal was to do something ideologically significant so as to disrupt the current movement to tighten gun regulations.

His radical ideas stemmed from government attempts to pass sensible gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook and Aurora mass shootings.

Creating an untraceable gun needing only access to a 3-D printer and Internet, leaves the government enforcement of plastic printed guns nearly impossible due to the lack  of policing and censorship of ideas on the web. Despite his anarchic views of the state, Wilson is more interested in starting alternative strategies to circumvent the law.

“This is about enabling individuals to create their own sovereign space … the government will increasingly be on the sidelines, saying ‘Hey, wait,’” Wilson told Vice Magazine. “It’s about creating the new order in the crumbling shell of the old order.”

Every year, about 10,000 people die from gun-related deaths.

Since the recent Newtown incident, almost 4,000 people have died at the mercy of a gun and despite that, people are still thwarting attempts at gun reforms, stating that guns make people safer under the banner of Second Amendment rights.

In order to rouse gun activists, conspiracy theorists are going so far as to claim the “authoritarian” government is attempting to disarm them. And Wayne LaPierre, NRA vice president, foolhardily believes that guards armed to the teeth in schools nationwide are the answer.

Yes, there are instances when guns have saved lives, but simply looking at the figures, states in the highest quartile for gun ownership had homicide rates 114 percent higher than states in the lowest quartile of gun ownership, according to the School of Public Health at Harvard.

Yet, some argue that 3-D printed guns will not exacerbate gun violence because illegal firearms are easy to get.

But do-it-yourself takes acquistion of lethal weapons beyond that.

For one, the guns are made of plastic with the exception of a metal strip and there will be ways around detection, so as to make printed guns virtually untraceable to metal detectors at airports, among other vulnerable places.

In the wake of the Newtown shootings and gun-related deaths that continue to engulf the U.S., President Barack Obama is still unable to gather support for gun reforms in Congress, despite having a Democratic majority in the Senate. If the president can’t even pass legislation with overwhelming public support for sensible gun reforms, how can we expect to regulate continually evolving modern weapons that are virtually undetectable?