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Op-Ed: 3-D printed guns will literally blow up

By Milton Este     May 24, 2013 in Technology
If you still think gun control isn't a problem, it's about to get a whole lot worse. As 3D-printed gun blueprints continue to circulate, they will cause more harm than good.
Three-dimensional (3D) printers can cost as low as just $400 and as high as $24,000. While they are not affordable for the general public, there are a few out there that are loaded with that kind of pocket cash to spend. For the most part, the average cost of such a printer is the same as a mid-end laptop and becoming more and more affordable everyday.
Back in 2012, a Texan student, Cody Wilson, developed a gun designed to be built with a 3D printer. The full story can be viewed over at the Sydney Morning Herald. In order to conform with US firearm laws, an inch large chunk of steel was inserted to make it detectable for metal detectors.
However, the question becomes what if someone chooses not to comply with such laws? This makes it completely undetectable for a 100% plastic gun to be smuggled through secure zones such as airports.
While the instructions were taken down, many still remain afloat through file hosting sites and torrents. Apparently, The Pirate Bay is still hosting 3D printed gun instructions downloads. However, is it really worth all that trouble to download and make your own gun?
It took 16 parts and 27 hours for the NSW police to make a gun. While the gun did fire and generated an enormous stopping power for what it's worth, there are drawbacks which Homeland Security and various regional police units are emphasizing.
Seen through a demonstration video by released by the NSW police, the 3D printed gun blew up after a shot, which can cause bodily harm to both the victim as well as the shooter. Scraps of plastic flew everywhere as the gun was fired, and it can be views from the attached video.
Lawmakers are currently pushing for 3D printed gun regulations, but will they do much good? Probably not. As mentioned earlier, plastic guns minimize the detection through metal detectors and security check points. Not only that, but it will eventually be possible to build and implement modified designs to make guns more compact and more powerful.
Solutions? Trying to censor the internet will be a failure, it is simply not possible for one regulator body to control such a vast network. However, the streets can be safer by imposing regulations on retail 3D printers. These include price fixings making the printers unaffordable for the average consumer, but as well requiring licensing and strict regulations for ownership.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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