Wikipedia gives a little perspective on “homemade firearms” that’s sorely missing from msnbc’s report on 3D printed guns. “Author Harlan Ellison describes the zip guns used by gangs in 1950s New York City as being made from tubing used in coffee percolators or automobile radio antennas, strapped to a block of wood to serve as a handle. A rubber band provides the power for the firing pin, which is pulled back and released to fire.” Which is pretty far away from the “assault rifle” shown as a bearded New York Times egghead (complete with hipster glasses) assures viewers that yes, Virginia . . .
there is a threat of BLOOD IN THE STREETS! Hence we must ban 3D printed guns – for the children! Devil-tempted unsuspecting urchins who might be mesmerized into making a plasma rifle for their HALO games. Or who might be on the receiving end of a gang banger’s single-shot “Liberator” pistol.
And so lawmakers and police are racing – racing I tell you! – to put an end to Americans’ freedom to use a 3D printer to build stuff in the privacy of their own homes. And after the ATF sorts that out (with a little help from the California legislature) they can work on building support for a law that will require a permit for home-brewed beer. After all, people might brew their own beer, get drunk, get into their cars and kill people!
The msnbc report ends with a warning about 3D-printed guns’ undetectability, a concern that echoes the hysterical hand-wringing that greeted the arrival of the “all-plastic” GLOCK. Terrorists can evade detection with 3D printed guns and kill people! Which begs the question: what about box cutters?