Cartoon by Michael Ramirez
Anti-gunners went nuts this week over the issue of 3-D printed guns. The catalyst was a State Department settlement with Defense Distributed to release plans for these weapons online. Eight state attorneys general promptly brough suit in Federal court, and on Tuesday a judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order pending an August 10 hearing. Later more states joined the lawsuit against State and Defense Distributed, bringing the total to 19.

What the states hope to achieve is unclear; plans for these and other weapons have already been posted online, and once something is out there it is available forever, so the judge's attempt to stop technology has something of an antiquated flavor. Firearms developer Jan Henrik Jebsen, Chairman of the Gamma Applied Visions Group, says that the hysteria over 3-D printed guns is misplaced.

"Making safe guns is not a simple enterprise for anyone to engage in," he writes, "it is actually a most complicated endeavour as one is dealing with very high chamber pressures which can kill or maim the user of the gun. There are many examples of that."

Jebsen notes that "plastic guns are already illegal since 1988." The idea that people can start mass printing semi-automatic weapons "makes little sense" since most workable plastic guns "can shoot one round imprecisely at best."

Furthermore "guns are readily available from multiple sources" so criminals don't have to resort to 3-D printing anyway.

"Unfortunately there is an efficient black market of stolen guns which is much more of a concern," he writes. "For example, in LA alone, there are 50,000 (yes, 50K) members of narco gangs, armed with automatic weapons, and these crazy people do not go to legal gun stores!  They fight each other over distribution regions for their drugs, with huge consequences to societies.  Sadly, the problem is only increasing."

State attorneys and activist judges will no doubt cobbe together a rationale for banning guns that in most cases are probably already illegal. At the same time, they will seek to establish precdents for expanding the reach of gun control to other perfectly legal firearms. The crackdown on plans for 3-D printed guns will do nothing to stop the spread of information and innovation, but presents an opportunity for anti-gunners to explore new avenues in limiting the Second Amendment.

James S. Robbins is the author of Erasing America: Losing Our Future by Destroying Our Past (Regnery, 2018).
 
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