Earlier this week there came news from ARFCOM that someone had actually printed an AR-15 lower receiver on a 3D printer — a machine that layers plastic or other materials to form an object. That lower was then used to successfully shoot 200 rounds of .22lr ammunition. It has even successfully fired full power 5.56 ammunition. Its shaping up to be the beginning of a new era where people can print their own complete firearms, and there’s already a project to provide them with the design…
Defense Distributed is a new project that aims to develop and make freely available to anyone with a 3D printer designs for a fully functioning firearm. They’re planning to do it in two phases — first a design needing external parts, and then a fully functioning design that can simply be printed out and used.
The implications for such a project, as well as the AR-15 receivers already available for download, must scare the living crap out of gun control advocates. A world where anyone can grab a file off the internet and print themselves a firearm means that there is no longer any viable means of implementing gun control. Anyone who wants a gun can just print their own, no matter where they are in the world or what their criminal record looks like. These guns completely bypass the FFL system, and can be made to any specifications.
We’re talking about a future where the average citizen can print themselves a machine gun without anyone knowing. And I think its fantastic.
Before the gun control acts came into effect, the United States was a hotbed for firearms innovation. We’re the country of John Browning and Eugene Stoner, “Carbine” Williams and John C. Garand. We’re a country of people who spent countless happy hours in their workshops tinkering with stuff, finding new designs for guns that made them better, more accurate, and more efficient. But that all stopped when the new regulations came in and manufacturers needed to get a license before they could start designing firearms. It raised the bar for entry so high that the average citizen could no longer come up with a new design, that was all done by committee in board rooms.
With 3D printing, I see a future where we once again are able to tinker with stuff and play around with gun designs, making newer and better designs all the time. And whats even better is that these designs can legally be tested by any number of people across the country, as each gun would be manufactured by the individual for individual use and keep the original designer from being a “manufacturer” and needing a license.
3D printing may just see the renaissance of backyard firearms designers, and hopefully with that comes new designs and new concepts in firearms technology. This is gunna be fun…