Saturday, May 25, 2013

3D-Printed Guns 'Impossible' To Control, DHS Tells Law Enforcement. Well, That's the Whole Idea.

3D-printed Liberator handgun3D-Printed Guns 'Impossible' To Control, DHS Tells Law Enforcement. Well, That's the Whole Idea.:
Firearms created by 3D printing technology
are likely beyond the ability of governments to restrict or
control, the Department of Homeland Security advises law
enforcement agencies in a bulletin prepared by the Joint Regional Intelligence Center. The
bulletin, obtained and quoted by Fox News, apparently frets over
the relative difficulty of detecting 3D-printed guns, as well as
the ease with which they can be produced. It acknowledges the
daunting task inherent in trying to prevent the distribution of
designs for such guns, comparing that challenge to stopping the
trading of music and movie files online.
From
Fox News
:
A new Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin
warns it could be "impossible" to stop 3D-printed guns from being
made, not to mention getting past security checkpoints.
A May 21 bulletin distributed to numerous state and federal law
enforcement agencies and obtained by FoxNews.com states that the
guns, which can be made by downloading blueprints into cutting edge
computers that mold three-dimensional items from melted plastic,
"poses public safety risks" and are likely beyond the current reach
of regulators. The guns threaten to render 3D gun control efforts
useless if their manufacture becomes more widespread.
Under orders from the State Department, Defense Distributed pulled its designs
for the Liberator handgun, depicted above, offline, while it
prepares for a legal challenge to the order. But those plans had
already been downloaded over 100,000 times and remain available
from venues including
Pirate Bay
. The plans have already been modified, including to

create working firearms on low-cost printers
that are more
readily affordable than the device used by Defense Distributed.
With the plans released, endlessly replicable and morphing, the
bulletin concedes that the cat is out of the bag:
"Proposed legislation to ban 3D printing of weapons may deter,
but cannot completely prevent their production," the memo says.
"Even if the practice is prohibited by new legislation, online
distribution of these digital files will be as difficult to control
as any other illegally traded music, movie or software files."
As a result, the memo concludes, "limiting access may be
impossible."
I noted recently that preventing the DIY revolution that brings
us easily produced homemade guns, and so much more, is now a goal
confined to
wishful thinking
. And that, of course, is the whole idea of
developing and spreading the technology — to put its control beyond
the practical reach of the control freaks, even if that means
frustrating a
fearful majority
.
Find more of Reason's coverage of 3D-printed guns and
the related controversy here.