The First 3d Printed Gun Has Been Fired, And I Don’t Care.

3d-printed-gunSeveral people have sent us this story. I’ve seen it everywhere. A lot of people are upset, on several sides.  A gun has been 3d printed that can actually fire a round.

First, we have people scared that this will bring undetectable guns to people who wouldn’t have had access before. Then we have the gun fans that are reacting to the others with shouts of freedom and liberty and stuff.  The 3d printing community has had mixed reactions, but many are concerned that this will harm 3d printing in general.

I simply don’t care.

It isn’t that I’m apathetic to people who are victims of gun violence. It isn’t that I’m apathetic about “gun rights”. I just think that this specific event makes no difference at all.  It is intriguing in the aspect that it is yet another “First!” for the 3d printer community, but beyond that I don’t care, keep the “firsts” coming.

Here are the different points that I have heard brought up.

1. Accessibility: People are concerned that guns will now end up in the hands of people who couldn’t have gotten them before.

I really don’t think this is a legitimate concern. You’ll note the machine that printed that gun. It wasn’t your average reprap. It cost as much as a small house. If you can afford that printer? You could afford a gun.  Lets just pretend your average reprap could print that gun though. Again, you’re going to have to either buy or build one. At this point, you would have been capable of just buying a gun or… building one.

I guess you could go use a friend’s printer to print your gun, but would that really be any more common than taking another person’s gun?

2. Printing restrictions and Legislation: 3d printer fans are scared that laws will be made that will stop them from printing things.

Do you own a lathe? A mill? You know you can make BETTER guns with those? That’s how the gun companies make them! It’s like you have a gun factory in your home! Actually, now that I think of it, they’re using .22 rimfire which can be fired in a pipe with a cap and a nail! How are hardware stores not illegal?

Listen, if they tell me I can’t print gun shaped things, I’ll probably print one just for spite. They aren’t going to enforce such a silly law, it would be impossible.  They can’t even build anything into the system like scanners that can’t scan money. Guns are too diverse and can be made from basic geometry.

3. Anti-Gun legislation: This may be used to push laws that limit firearms in some way.

Anti-gun legislation has so much gun violence to use as a foundation that a slight change in manufacturing really is a drop in the bucket. This won’t change their ability to restrict things. At least, I don’t think it will.

4. A legitimate concern: Detectability.

The only real issue I see here is that a 3d printed gun wouldn’t be detectable by metal detectors. Bullets are though aren’t they?


These are my opinions on the 3d printed gun. I’m not delving into gun control in general. Since these are opinions, they will most likely be ill-informed and incomplete. Feel free to participate in a civil discussion on the topic.

If you’re curious about whether I personally have a gun, I do not. I think I’m too clumsy to own a firearm. I am fairly sure I’d accidentally shoot someone when I did something stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I do dangerous things. Stupid, dangerous things.

475 thoughts on “The First 3d Printed Gun Has Been Fired, And I Don’t Care.

    1. The whole idea of 3d printing was to allow people to print whatever they like and this is just one part of that, however something like this is incredibly emotive so you will always get polar opposite views, with the media helping to feed the frenzy.

      If anything hurts the 3d printing world it will be how the media handles it and how people react to things like this. As Caleb pointed out, there are many ways to make a gun, this 3d printer is the least of anyone’s worries.

    2. It’s weird, I just watched “In the line of fire” yesterday. The movie where John Malkovich makes a plastic gun to assasinate the president.

      1. People should be questioning, worried and more upset. The DoD made Defcad remove the file. They have NOT broken any law(s) nor is there any law(s) that does NOT allowing them or anyone to do this. And yet they were made to remove the file????? Long as a person does not produce the gun for sale, it’s legal. If some does produce and sale a gun. It could legally be done by a licensed (FFL) dealer. Which by the way does have a FFL (had they chosen to sell it). The government is stepping all over the people illegally, making laws that suit them and people don’t seem to care. This is what makes this 3D gun an issue in my opinion. I agree that printing a gun is cool but not surprising and slightly impressive. People who believe guns kill people and not people kill people. Like this banning or taking away and don’t care if they or I lose my rights. Don’t ask me to help or to ban for you when they take your freedom of speech away or illegally come into your home. If someone prints a gun, acts unresponsible and kills people with it. There’s already a law to punish them, it’s called murder. We don’t need another law. People with cars, knifes, and blunt objects kill innocent people. When are we banning those??? It’s not about protecting innocent people, it’s about control and taking away from the people.

        United we will all succeed, separated we will all fail.

        1. Just for reference the DoD (Actually the State Department) requested that the design be taken down because theoretically it violates ITAR restrictions. It was more the fact that someone abroad can freely access those designs rather than someone within the US. I personally don’t see the issue here since the design is pretty trivial when compared to most military technologies ITAR is made to protect. In any case I hope this clears up any confusion.

          For those looking for a crash course on ITAR:


      2. quit whining. ALL gun laws in the United States are illegal violations of the second amendment. In addition, it is NOT illegal to build a fire arm in ANY state.

        Deal with it!

    3. The way i see it. from the point of view of a non-american –

      If they didn’t bloody make a big song and dance about gun control, then they wouldn’t create demand for these items.

      Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things. Sure, it’s not the best idea seeing anyone with a 3d printer can do it, but they’ve forced people into this.

      Legislation won’t matter thought. It will be impossible to enforce anyway, like the author said. Just shows they never learnt anything from the initial legislation that led to this.


      1. Ahh, the whole “people only want things because they can’t have them” anarchist philosophy. So if we legalize everything people will be like angels. It strikes me as naive and simplistic but I can see the appeal of that world view.

  1. its basically a zipgun… you can make one for 2$. just because its plastic mostly its new? you still need metal and a bullet, both of which shouldn’t make it through TSA, but might make it through a metal detector….

    What you need?

    Rubber dishwashing gloves
    A 3/8ths inch female to female coupling
    A 2″ 3/8ths inch pipe
    A 3/8ths to 1/4-inch adapter
    A drill bit wrapped in duct tape (a 10- to 16-penny nail or similar will suffice in lieu of the drill bit)
    A round of 9mm ammo, with the case wrapped in duct tape.

    1. Couldn’t you, theoretically, make a nanoreinforced ceramic (or some such) firing pin, casing and bullet? Primer too? I doubt you could 3d print such things until we hit molecular assemblers though.

      There are already ceramic knives that are filled with dummy metal but don’t have to be. Ceramic generally trades hardness for brittleness though. See: Carbide. Very hard things generally don’t tolerate shock loads well so firing a solid ceramic object would probably shatter it anyway.

      This whole argument over 3d printed guns is stupid but it gives the lay audience the idea that 3d printers are now glorified gun factories – which is amazingly untrue.

        1. Sintering metals yields reprap style quality metal parts though. In other words, near net shaped but hardly final machined or finished quality – the parts are grainy and “fine sand like”. Sure, you can further machine them but why bother? These machines are $500,000+ and require highly pure gasses, powdered metals, lasers, etc.

        1. Lets see – the 1998 movie “US Marshals” featured a single .22 in a pen, styled as a gun & used on a plane.
          Or maybe the 1993 movie “In the Line of Fire” where John Malkovich tries to kill the US President – with a plastic gun…

          1. Rights are not gifts from government. But I must remind you that this is not a “Democrat” or Obama issue, both parties pass legislation that tramples the Constitution.

        1. That ease is a fallacy of the medias coverage of this issue.

          The undercover news stories are typically the result of bribery and coercion and make it seem like we have gun-vending machines on street corners. We don’t and unless you ‘know people that know people’ guns really are not that easy to acquire.

        2. Because very few people live in the USA or Somalia. In most of the developed world people want guns eliminated. Projects like this allow individuals to get get around restrictions that nearly everyone want.
          I gave a 3D printer talk last night and due to this story for the first time people viewed 3D printing as a danger and not a wonder. If someone wants to restrict 3D printing this is the way to go.

          1. If some wants to remove restrictions for anything, release it as free open source on the internet. If some want to pass laws to block one thing, people forget that those laws can (and will) be used to block other things. Like freedom of expression, etc. Your rights are always undermined for a bit more perceived security, and despite people feeling safer with each new restricting law, and each new grope while you travel, the restricted people become ever more desperate and end up justifying more draconian laws with their actions. This vicious cycle continues at this very moment, and will not stop until your children’s children are enslaved by the system, or until we decide to take responsibility for our own lives, and not give in to fear mongering authority-types.

        3. Gun laws come from people who want to restrict the 2nd Amendment rights of all Americans. Someone in their family has either been hurt with a firearm or they simply don’t understand that non-criminals have rights to defend themselves. It does not matter how many gun laws pass–even if well-intended (the road to hell is paved with good intentions) criminals will always find a way to get–or make–a gun. Lawmakers cannot fathom that people can be responsible gun owners, nor do most of them care. Gun rights are a political issue to them, not a guaranteed right. That is the problem of most elected officials. They are willfully ignorant of the truth. They will be protected by guns. As far as they are concerned, how you defend yourself is your problem–they just want to be one up on all of us to control the masses. That is not America.

          1. That’s a common argument of gun advocates, and it’s simply not true. There are very few guns in Europe, and very few gun crimes. For one reason, because there’s a small supply, either smuggled in (very hard to do! that’s why illegal weapons are so expensive here. so I’m told!), or are the odd deactivated collector’s piece that’s been reactivated. And even then, getting hold of bullets is a challenge just as big.

            In the USA it’s different. Of course if one town, or state, got rid of all it’s guns somehow, bringing back hundreds from the next town or state by the car-full wouldn’t be hard. In Europe that’s impossible. The few places in the USA with gun regulation find that it doesn’t work well, simply because availability doesn’t shrink.

            The other, more important thing, I think, is that in Europe there’s no NEED for criminals to carry guns. Unless you’re robbing a bank, or something really serious. And even then they’re intended to be used just for intimidation, not firing.

            But the average mugger / burglar etc doesn’t carry a gun, because they don’t need one. There’s plenty of people one can threaten with one’s fists. And since the police don’t carry guns either, you don’t have to worry about getting into a shootout. What carrying a gun WILL get a criminal, is a long, long prison sentence.

            So they don’t need or carry them here.

            I also can’t see what use a gun would be in self-defence. It’s like carrying a knife. If you carry a knife, you’d better be prepared to use it, cos if you don’t the bad guy’s gonna take it off you, and now he’s pissed off. The only real “defence” against a mugger would be to shoot him. I’d sooner get robbed than be responsible for killing someone. I don’t
            enjoy the thought of killing anyone, “goody” or “baddy”.

            And since guns aren’t an interest of mine, nor is crime, I’m not going to take lessons and train with it. With a deadly weapon in my untrained hands, if I’m lucky I get to kill some stranger. Unlucky and I hurt or kill myself or some passers-by. I don’t want the danger in my house. Having no gun at all is safer than having one in a safe. 0 guns = 0 accidents, and I’ll just have to put up with the justice system to deal with criminals instead of killing them myself. That’s a deal I can live with.

            The average criminal might not be very bright. They might also be panicking and full of adrenaline. I don’t want to play High Noon in that situation. People survive muggings and burglaries. Police may be lazy and useless, but that’s not a situation improved by arming the populace.

          2. I’d like to illuminate a common fault in reasoning to gun control activists…
            truth: Less guns equals less GUN crime.
            truth: Less guns does not intrinsically equal less crime as a WHOLE.

            truth: In every single crime, a person is the perpetrator.
            …Yet why isn’t there a single law unilaterally making persons illegal? (see where selective logic takes us!?)

            Also, other statements of applied logic and general security:

            Freedom is definite, security is theoretical.

            Police investigate crime; police cannot stop crime.

            A bird in hand is better than 3 in the bush.
            A gun in hand is better than 3 police officers on patrol. (weather you want to shoot someone or not, I don’t want to die)

            Sam owns and drives a racecar; sam doesn’t win races.
            Sam owns and shoots a gun; Sam doesn’t shoot people.

            Bill is a criminal without a gun: Bill kills people with or without guns.

            Sally doesn’t own a gun or a knife; Sally can’t defend herself from rapists or muggers.

            Guns cannot be convicted of crime, therefore, guns are not criminal.
            Guns are involved in crime; guns don’t cause crime.
            Guns can prevent criminal activity; they can’t create criminal activity.

      1. You could print them out of styrene, coat them with nanofibers using a modified Blu-Ray method (search Hackaday), and then dissolve the styrene. You could also coat them with pretty much any metal, but you’ll have to leave holes for the solvent.

        Maybe you could print an outer styrene mesh, and layer by layer you could apply the ceramic paste right inside the 3DP. When its done apply the coating & dissolve the styrene before popping it all into an oven. IDK, it might just work. Go ahead and try it, but remember I thought of it, and the rights remain with me, the Public domain.

      2. When I was younger a zip gun could be made with a lighter and a car antenna. It takes little imagination or materiel to make a one shot weapon. As for being undetectable that can be accomplished as well. A nonmetal one shot firearm can be produced in very little time out of a variety of easily available materials. Even the propellent can be home made. Any laws to prevent this type weapon can be circumvented quite easily by a thinking person. Printing a “gun” is only for hobbyist at best.

  2. Manufacture weapons in home bypassing any existing gun law in any country. I don’t see where the problem is…

    I’m kidding of course. If you live in a country where education, tradition, and culture are more important than fast food and violence, this will be no problem to you…

      1. That is true–you can manufacture your own weapons as long as you don’t transfer them to someone else. I’m pretty sure that provision DOESN’T extend to NFA items (automatic weapons, short-barreled rifles, and mysifyingly suppressors), though.

        1. Actually, you can make your own NFA items too: as long as they’re not machine guns. You can manufacture your own suppressor, “any other weapon”, short barreled rifle, short barreled shotgun, or large-bore destructive device as long as you fill out a Form 1 and have it approved BEFORE you start making it. The cost is $200 (each).

          It also has to be legal for you to possess in your location. The ATF does not always verify this for you, however, and you can be approved by the ATF for a gun you are not legally allowed to posses where you live. This is your responsibility to determine.

          You can also make your own explosive destructive device if you are also licensed to manufacture explosives.

          You cannot manufacture a new machine gun thanks to the Hughes amendment to the Gun Owners Protection Act in 1986. This amendment closed the registration of new machine guns effectively the pool of available-to-civilian machine guns to those registered on or before May 19, 1986.

        2. Id imagine its much like manufacturing your own car. Again, go for it. It might not be road worthy. And even if it turns out to be (you get it inspected, etc) you still need to have a drivers license to drive it. But not to OWN it. So. yeah. Anyone can legally make their own gun at home. Anyone can legally own a home made gun. But to attempt using it, you ought to have a license, and have your build inspected and tested by someone certified to sign off on it.

          1. No, you would only need a “license” to drive it on public roads. What you do with anything you make on your own PROPERTY is your own business.

            With guns, it’s a matter of selling it, transferring it, or otherwise getting into the hands of somebody else (it’s all about transfer) and taxes.

            That’s the thing about suppressors. It’s not that they’re illegal or anything, but they ARE like pot and moonshine and tobacco. It’s about paying the taxes on it. (they used to have a “pot stamp”. But that’s mostly how they made it illegal, they just stopped making the stamp for it, so you can’t get one. But with alcohol, and tobacco, there’s little “stamps”, you can get. (that’s the colorful paper wrap on a liquor bottle, and normally a little painted “stamp” on a pack of smokes).

            As long as you buy the “stamp”, and pay the taxes to get that stamp, you’re good to go, as long as you don’t transfer it. Then it’s about control, knowing who has what etc…

      2. From the ATF’s website:
        With certain exceptions a firearm may be made by a non-licensee provided it is not for sale and the maker is not prohibited from possessing firearms. However, a person is prohibited from assembling a non-sporting semi-automatic rifle or non-sporting shotgun from imported parts. In addition, the making of an NFA firearm requires a tax payment and approval by ATF. An application to make a machine gun will not be approved unless documentation is submitted showing that the firearm is being made for a Federal or State agency.

        So, yeah…as long as it’s something you could legally go to the store and buy (normal shotgun, rifle, handgun) and you don’t INTEND to sell it you can make it for yourself. You can end up selling it later too, as long as you mark it with your name as the manufacturer and some kind of serial number. It’s not illegal to sell, just illegal to manufacture with the intent to sell.

        1. I also find that “from imported parts” segment intriguing. There’s likely more text addressing it, but from the quoted text using materials that *don’t* come from outside of the {state,country} may negate that non-sporting clause.

          1. nope, you are allowed to use a certain percentage of imported parts in your gun build, you can NOT use more than that legally. nor can you build a gun entirely from imported parts. same goes for replacing parts on AR/AK rifles and the like. i forget the reasoning behind it tho

      1. I built a .308 caliber rifle from a 75cm long chunk of 25mm rebar and.. that’s all I used, was rebar. Total cost was 0 dollars, I found the rebar in a scrap pile. I used a 230 dollar Hazard Fraught mill, with the same kind of bit you use to make a flute (interestingly enough, its a 75 dollar bit called a ‘gun drill’.) I built a chamber ream, reamed the end of the rebar into the proper profile. I threaded the end of the rebar, and fit on a pipe cap. I rounded off a nail real fast for a firing pin, and used a throttle spring from a lawn mower to propel it. I tempered the barrel in a furnace I built out of an oil drum, refractory brick, and a high powered natural gas burner. I quenched it in heated oil bath made from used motor oil, and a deep fat fryer cooking element. I then used a ball mill to clean up the muzzle end and give it a very clean crown.

        It was quite accurate, 3moa at 150 meters. None of these skills are special, i learned all this crap in shop class in high school. I could pump out a huge number of these in the time it would take for one of these plastic toys to be made. I could even go a step further, and thread the muzzle end of the rebar, and thread on a large engine oil filter. A 7.3L ford powerstroke filter would make a damn fine silencer once you fire a single shot through it.

        Further more, all I have to do is push a button on my lathe to start it.

          1. Lets face it, when I improve slack in the traverse mechanism by wedging a gum wrapper in there, its not exactly the finest piece of equipment…

        1. For acceptable accuracy at 150m you must have rifled the barrel. You didn’t mention how you accomplished that. Also, the spindle-bore on the cheap HF lathe isn’t that large so I am wondering how you bored out the rebar. You must have a lot of extra fixturing to make that happen. I’d love to hear a description of your setup.

          1. I’m quite proud of how i rifled it, actually. I found the basic technique in a WWII research document I found at the navy base library. It’s called ‘button rifling.’ I made a slug/button to pull up the barrel on the end of a rod, then used a pair of long stroke hydraulic pistons (rigged in parallel) I borrowed from a ruined front end loader off an 80’s tractor. I used some big plates of 3/8 scrap material to build a ‘bed’ to house the rig. I used my working Kubota as a glorfied hydraulic power unit to pull the the slug/rod combo through the rebar ‘barrel’. If I had been building this as a long term machine, I would probably go to Hazard Fraught and use on of their hydraulic power packs or a log splitter. If I didn’t absolutely suck at basic machining it would have come out better.

            The actual finished barrel only ended up being 415mm long when I was done. As for my lathe, I was using hyperbole when i called it a 230 dollar lathe, I didn’t expect people to take this comment that seriously. Sorry. Mine is actually their old 40″ unit, which I bought used then made a few modifications using Grizzly parts. Spindle bore doesn’t really matter, just build a steady rest and use the 4 jaw chuck. Basic/critical machining skill that only requires a dial indicator (which you should have) and a few minutes of time. I try to stay away from the headstock end on my lathe anyway, as it suffered a lot of wear at the previous owners hands.

            This was all part of a phase i was going through when I was laid off. I was experimenting to see what i could do to completely build an AK pattern weapon from scratch, as i had made up a few flats into receivers and was very much enjoying the distraction.

        2. Thanks for the description, that is something to be proud of. I hope you will admit, though, that what you describe is well beyond the capabilities of most people, today, who think food comes from a supermarket, clothes from a dept. store, etc. Sure, if they put their minds to it, etc. but most think “that sounds like a lot of work.” I suppose it would be possible with my little 7×14 but it would be very difficult. Most people doing what you did are using 40″ lathes. Anyway, thanks again for the description, I like to read how peopl solve these sorts of problems.

  3. Amen dude, amen… when I first saw this I tried to get all worked up about it but I really couldn’t. It’s a gun, lot’s of people have guns, deal with it. Who really cares if he used a 3D printer? Actually I’d prefer he used one of these guns, cause really, how many shots are they going to get off with a plastic gun?

      1. Indeed, they used an $8,000 printer to make a .22LR with non-functional rifling. Accuracy potential, probably 40 Minute of Angle, if they’re lucky. (Forty inch circle of three or more shots at 100 yards…best distance to hit a pop can = 21.5 feet.) This is a close-range, low power gun at best.

        I know it’s a step towards something better, but at this point, you’d be better served to buy a $10 knife. Effective range approximately the same, for .125% the cost and 1% the effort.

        Wake me up when it fires something centerfire with a muzzle energy over 200 ft-lbs and has functional rifling…

        1. I’d compare to the street-price of an unlicensed, untraceable gun. I’m not sure what the median price for those is, but I’d bet it’s less than $1000, depending on your location.

          If you can buy a gun on the black market for less than the printing cost, why bother with plastics?

          1. Brand new gun with superior function to the one featured in this article can be had for around $300. And that’s a semi-automatic with 7-10 round magazine instead of a single shot.

            I’d venture that in most areas you could get a straw purchase done for less than $150. (Straw buying is where someone with a known clean record purchases a gun expressly to buy for someone who cannot pass a background check. Illegal, but money talks.)

            I’ve been offered in Indianapolis before to purchase a handgun with “no papers” for $350 to $500 and those were 9mm and .40cal. Since I don’t like the idea of jail I kindly passed, but that’s a price for you…

          2. A “unlicensed, untracable” gun costs as much as any other gun. You know in many states you can buy a gun from a private owner with no paperwork required?

          3. As a comparison with somewhere where guns can’t be bought legally, a mate of mine claimed to have bought a handgun in the UK for £1000.

        1. Anything that looks like a “military weapon”. It looks like a military weapon if it has any of these.
          – curved magazine
          – separate handle and shoulder stock
          – flash hider / muzzle brake
          – 15+ rounds magazine
          – scary text on the side
          – black paint coat
          – less than 700mm long if it’s a rifle, or longer than 300mm if it’s a pistol
          – full-auto or burst fire mode

          1. Assault weapons have that shoulder-thing that goes up. You know, the barrel-shroud.
            It makes them all scary looking. Also their black colour. Granny always said never to trust black.

          2. Rifles have a shoulder stock for holding the gun close to your frame while shooting. Pistols are made to be held and shot with the arms outstretched, and don’t include stocks (except for some muddy middle ground with guys that like to see how accurate they can make a gun with a sub-10″ barrel).

          3. An assault weapon is any weapon used to assault someone or something, it does not have to be a firearm, it can be a rock that is used to assault someone or something.

        2. Good question.

          Real definition of assault weapon:
          – a fully automatic weapons (when you squeeze the trigger the weapon will continue to fire bullets until it runs out or you stop squeezing the trigger)

          Politician’s definition of assault weapon:
          – a gun that looks scary
          – a gun that is painted black
          – a gun that looks (but not functions) similar to an actual assault weapon
          – depending on that state, just about every gun in existence

          1. “Assault Rifle” is a misnomer, the AR in AR-15 stands for “Armalite Rifle”, and they are semi-automatic, which basically means you don’t have to cock the charging handle after every shot.
            Fully automatic rifles are known as machine guns.
            “Assault Weapon” is a made up term politicians use to scare uneducated people.

        3. An assault weapon can be anything used to assault someone or something. Say i stabbed someone with a sharpened pencil, i would get charged with assault with a deadly weapon. It does not have to be a firearm that is an assault weapon, it can be anything.

    1. The above statement is only true if you live in the U.S.

      It won’t happen with this iteration but I can see this causing all sorts of fun here (the U.K.) where we have much stricter gun laws, moving gun manufacture from a careful and skilled task in a machine shop to some version of clicking print**. Yes, people still get hold of guns and yes people will still have to get hold of the ammo but this does remove some fairly large barriers (e.g. smuggling/stealing/buying of shady people).

      Of course 3D printing is more likely to be legislated into the ground by copyright holders but this will give legislators a lovely rhetorical hammer to swing on behalf of those copyright holders (“we’re stopping terrorists print weapons here in the UK” is much more palatable than “we’re making sure that only GamesWorkshop can produce small figures that resemble orcs”).

      ** yes, at the moment it’s a lot more than just clicking print but a lot of that is less skilled than controlling a lathe, mill and other tools to make a gun

      1. Not really, in terms of skill. if you want to be lazy, you only need to find ammo. You can built a serviceable high powered .308/7.62mm single shot rifle from 2 lengths of proper diameter gas pipe, a nail, some surgical tubing, a threaded pipe cap, and a hand drill you got second hand from the thrift shop for 8 dollars.

        1. i live in the uk, and although i’ve never gone out looking for a handgun, i’ve also never seen one, barring the police that sometimes carry them. i’m 36. i also think that this is a very positive one.

          if i wanted a gun, i wouldn’t know who to go to to get one.

          but 3d printers? i can make one for £2k… i can borrow 3/4 of them… i can download the schematics for nothing… but i don’t have the inclination.

          now if i was 12, my dad had a printer, i knew how to use it, where to download the schematic, and my parents were out for a few hours…

          now think were 3d printing was 5 years ago, and now imagine 5 years down the line.

          1. But where’d you get the bullets from? You can make pretty useless black powder from stuff in a garden centre (geek-spent youth). Where’d you get the percussion cap?

            People have pointed out zip-guns are already easy to make. A gun, in principle, is not much more than a tube and a spring-loaded pin. My hypothetical zip-gun is probably more dangerous and less likely to blow my hand off than a plastic-printed gun. It’s the bullets that contain the real technical skill and impossible-to-get components.

            There’s zero chance that any British kid is going to print out and fire a gun like this. It might make another media moral panic if nothing else comes along, but logic and facts mean nothing to the lying scum who write the news.

      1. because the plastics in that are resilient to a crazy high temperature. We’re talking 900 degrees plus centigrade. The current printers struggle with 180 C. There was a previous attempt to make all plastic ammo. The ABS (what most printed gun parts are being done in) melted if you shot any faster than 15 rounds in 3 minutes (roughly, I forget the actual time before the cops trying the stuff couldn’t even open the guns to clean them).

        1. Polybutylene terephthalate used to make those bullets has a lower melting point then ABS. The latest generation of Repraps can print with polycarbonate which might be able to hold barrel riffling as it’s more thermally stable and springs back after pressure deformation without being damaged.

      1. You can make the more high-tech stuff out of air-conditioning oil & nitric acid. There are tons of guides online, but you get the best tips from the government’s own OSHA-lists. “So, why is it a bad idea to mix these two chemicals?” *googles*

  4. Any of the points regarding criminals’ access to guns boil down to this: there are already mountains of legislation barring criminals from getting guns. And they don’t work. A typical street criminal has zero incentive to print their own gun. Whatever legislation someone attempts to pass will have zero effect on criminals.

    The detectability issue *is* a potential sticky wicket, but only if the only detection equipment is a “metal (but really only ferrous stuff) detector”. I can’t recall how many times I waltzed through a metal detector at the airport with a brass-buckled belt on. The cartridges are made of brass, lead and copper, and while they might trip a metal detector, I wouldn’t bet on it. They’ll show up clearly on an x-ray machine, though, and this gun looks kinda hard to conceal, so I’m not sure how worried I should be.

        1. Haven’t flown for a long time, but plenty in documentaries. I don’t think they have them as a compulsory thing to go past when you board the plane, but teams of dog and handler wander round the luggage areas while the dog keeps it’s nose open.

          The bees, I read about in the New Scientist. Apparently you can train bees. You keep most of them in a hive, then some are taken off for a few hours’ duty, loaded into a little cartridge. When they smell explosives, which is one of the things you can train them for, they all move over to one end of their cartridge home, and optical sensors notice that. A little puff of air is blown at the suspect, to dislodge whichever molecules, then sucked up through tubes into the bees’ cartridge.

          I believe there are also “puff” sensors that use spectroscopes and suchlike. A poster in this thread pointed out they don’t tend to use them, because the metal-detector companies have the business sewn up tight with the FAA.

          But yeah. Dogs at airports. All those dreadful cheap fly-on-the-wall documentaries TV is infested with. Some sniff drugs, some explosives. Dunno if one dog can be trained for both. I suppose all those nitrate molecules in the explosives are quite odorous if you have the nose for it.

    1. Once it goes through the X-ray machine, you WILL see it, even if it’s plastic…

      Virtually all airport scanners are “dual energy”, it allows them to distinguish between organic and inorganic materials (like explosives in a metal tube :D), the newer stuff utilises backscattering, so large homogenous pieces of plastic (like the barrel) will “shine” nice and bright ;-)

      btw if I wanted to really do damage, explosives would still be muuuuuch better :P

    2. Just to point out, too, that anti-gun laws stop criminals getting hold of guns in Europe. Because there are so few legal guns to be diverted to criminals. And because, since the police, security guards, etc aren’t armed, a criminal doesn’t need a gun, so would rather do without than face the long prison sentence just for carrying one.

      They don’t work in the USA because you have so many legal guns around, they’re easy enough to get.

  5. Most of the comments and discussion I’ve seen so far on any of these 3D printed gun articles have been by people in the US and how it affects them. I’d love to see a wider view on how this effects the rest of the world.

    Personally I think the comments in this article might be spot on if you take the narrow view that all those effected will be in the US but take some of the countries with strict gun control and things might be very different..

  6. Its not illegal to manufacture a gun in your house in the US

    It’s illegal to SELL them.

    3D printing of weapons is tantalizing to discuss in the media but it’s not a real issue. 3D printing of guns is not the least cost approach to acquiring a gun due to the wide available of conventional firearms (and other weapons).

    1. In the US it is not illegal to sell them, you just can’t manufacture them with the intent to sell them. You can make a gun for yourself and decide that you want to sell it later. If you want to transfer a firearm you made it it needs to be marked with a serial number the name of the manufacturer and location it was produced. If you build a gun for your own use it does not need to be marked in any way.

      If you want to make a gun, you can buy a 80% AR15 lower receiver, this is the only regulated part of the rifle. Since final machining is not done, legally this is not considered a firearm. The only tool needed to finish one is a drill press, however doing this is more expensive than buying a complete lower. All other components to build an AR15 can be mailed to your door with no federal restrictions.

  7. What about the issue of knowing how to use a 3d printer? I have never used one but based on the little I know about them I think I would fail at making an intentional basic shape let alone something gun shaped.

  8. To make a gun with drill and mole it’s time consuming and requires some actual skill.
    To print a gun (I guess) requires a machine, the model, some plastic, and most importantly, it can be automated. Let’s say you want to build 400, 500, 2000 untraceable guns. In Italy, you have to get a special authorization to buy and carry a gun, though there is black market, of course. I guess ‘Ndrangheta and Camorra would be interested in spending some 30-40k $ in a gun-printing machine which delievers untraceable weapons. This is a very serious subject. Also note that a couple of bullets are easier to carry or hide than the whole thing, and it just takes a few to take down an airplane.

        1. You can take down an airplane with a mercury-thermometer. Mercury acts as a catalyst that will rapidly help aluminum corrode, so as long as time isn’t an issue…

          1. You could also use Gallium to induced a structural failure, so why print a gun to take down an airplane? Even with a smartphone it is possible to take it down.

    1. There are g-code programs floating around for milling AR15 lowers and parts on cheap china-import end mills that cost less than $1,500.

      This doesn’t raise any new issues, it just brings it back into the mainstream thought.

      1. Still, it requires lots of metal to build a gun, and a handiful of skills to build it.
        I don’t know exactly how easier is it to print a gun, but it sounds like it’s almost user level. And then again, what about printing 50, 60 guns. One hundred. Or more.

        1. Metal’s not exactly hard to get hold of. And I’m sure if you have the tools, a bit of practice will have you turning out guns eventually. For some reason, even in the UK where handguns are now illegal, you never hear of any crime committed with home-made guns. It’s been possible forever, but nobody bothers doing it.

          If I was going to carry a gun, it’d be to protect my life or liberty. In the second case, from going to jail for the post-office I’d be robbing. If I was risking 20 years in prison, I’d want a decent, reliable gun, not a bit of plastic crap. If I had the sort of friends who rob post-offices I’m sure one of them could get hold of a real gun for me.

          It would also need to LOOK like a gun, to scare little old ladies, airline pilots or whoever, into doing as they’re told. Something that looks like a toy or a flare-gun will mean that by the time I’ve convinced them it really is a real gun, we’ll have landed at our destination and the police would’ve turned up.

          Plastic guns are James Bond stuff. When the last drop of sarin and the final pointy umbrella have gone from the world, maybe they’ll start using plastic guns. But the mess, noise, and bits of molten plastic will still make it a pretty useless tool.

        2. My local metal yard sells several common alloys of steel, at least one of which I’d imagine would work fine for a gun. If I remember right, it’s only a couple dollars per pound, and a gun only weighs a few pounds to begin with. Even accounting for what you machine off, you’re not spending very much at all.

          So, no, you don’t need “a lot of metal to build a gun.”

          As for making more than one: Are you serious? There’s this thing called “CNC” that’s popular topic for hackaday. It’s kind of a big deal and accounts for a significant portion of the world’s production capacity. Your car was almost entirely built by these machines, directly and indirectly, along with most of the things in your house.

          You might be able to produce a few handguns per day on a 3D printer. You could produce that many in an HOUR on a capable machining center, and they’ll be superior to what you can 3D print in EVERY SINGLE WAY.

          It’s not terribly difficult to run a CNC machine, the only notable problem you’d have over a 3D printer is programming the part. But, as others have pointed out, you can download gcode files for gun parts that would require little to no modification to work on your machine. Even if you couldn’t, there’s plenty of CAM software that can more or less walk you through the process.

          Hell, disregarding all that completely, you could make a very ugly but certainly functional gun with nothing more than a hacksaw and a drill press in a matter of minutes, assuming you made up a few simple jigs for it.

          1. My brother works on CNC machine to work wood in a furniture company, and that’s his job. I’m not saying it’s impossible, or too hard, but still it’s not as simple as pressing a button. Every G-code program requires lots of calibrations and adjustments for the particular CNC machine you are working on, the material and so on and that’s why CAM softwares exist. If I understand correctly, printing is just a matter of clicking a button, conceptually.

          2. “Conceptually,” CNC machining is also just a matter of pressing a button. My point is that 3D printers _do_ require a fair bit of calibration and tweaking, too. Perhaps not to the degree that G-code programs for subtractive CNC do, but, AFAIK, that’s mostly because of the relative sophistication of the STL -> G-code generators being used for 3D printing (e.g. skeinforge, Slic3r). The rest of the difference is due to the relative user-friendliness of the physical machines.

            It seems to me that just as the 3DS Cube is far easier to use than a home-built RepRap, CNC mills, routers and lathes could be physically designed to be much more user-friendly than they are now.

            For instance, a router could be designed specifically to take specially made “blanks” that would be dead simple to load into the machine. Like the filament cartridges for the Cube (and also like ink cartridges for inkjet printers), such blanks would be wasteful and overpriced (and also possibly DRM-laden), but could make for a _very_ easy to use machine.

            This is just my opinion, based on what I currently know. Am I missing something here?

    2. If I had ~40k$ at hand and wanted several 100 plastic guns, I wouldn’t start 3dprinting them.
      I’d get a decent cnc machine to mill a mould and extrude plastic into it.
      I guess it’s faster and cheaper for large scale production.
      You could even use the existing cadfiles from the internet to make the mould.

      And if that’s to much work: You could also split the design in several perfectly harmless looking parts and get them manufactured somewhere as cheap plastic toys.

      The only real ‘advantage’ of a 3d printer in this kind of scenario is that is a rather small machine and therefore can be moved an hidden easily.
      Where as my other two suggestions required either a well equipped workshop or business relationships with might leave behind some paperwork.

      For me 3D-Printers are tools, just like my lathe and my cnc mill.
      They can be used to make cool and helpful things as well as bad or dangerous things, but that depends human who uses them, not on the machines.

      So as always the people who need an untraceable gun are the problem, not the technology that provides that gun.


      Ps: I can recommend a talk by cory doctorow from the 27c3 in Germany.
      It’s about computers and other new technologies and how governments try to regulate them. The talk covers a lot of the arguments used by both sides in the current debate.

    3. little buddy, organized crime already employs some of the world’s finest organic chemists.

      you think they can’t hire mechanical engineers and machinists? right now they don’t have to bother because there are plenty of governments that gleefully sell firearms to them.

      they can acquire basically whatever they want.

      1. They can aquire all that because they hold a monopoly on a controlled market, with easily manipulable prices. Competitors are turned off by the illegal nature, or are weeded out by corrupt cops making a bust for the bigshots. It’s the same as in government, but the victims have no recourse.

  9. While you may be right concerning the US, the situation is far more delicate in Europe, where we have much stronger gun laws.
    Politicians do freak out about this stuff sometimes and that could pose a threat to the 3d-printing community in Europe.

    1. ” because if someone really want to kill people it will not care about any regulation it will just kill them.”

      For someone determined, cunning and premeditated, its 100% correct. But most crimes are not like that.
      Gun regs are not to reduce gun crime to zero – they are merely to reduce it.

        1. That map is worse than useless for the kind of discussion we’re having here. We first-world people already live in countries that are nearly crime free compared to the larger world. The effect of our laws tries to reduce an already small number

          For example, your map shows that nobody has guns in India and China, and nobody gets killed by guns there either – at least, they are in green on the homicide map as much as France is.
          Ditto for Japan. Few people have guns in Argentina and few people get killed, while Brazil is full of crime – but in Brazil there are two other things that Argentina lacks: widespread extreme poverty, and drug barons.

  10. 1) First off the printer cost $8000, About 8 times the cost of a reprap. In the US this kind of technology is not an issue because you can buy guns easier then here in Canada or in the united kingdom. A zip gun is easy enough to make but can often use allot more tools and skill. This is also just the first one made. Keep in mind that the thing that made these guys famous was the ar15 stock which originally lasted something like 50 rounds and later went all the way up to 600 rounds before breaking which leads me to believe that they will make more practical and sophisticated ones, perhaps with multiple barrels or even revolver style.

    2) Maybe gun laws won’t hinder the sale of 3d printers but what about things like the reprap foundation? Outside the United States, gun cultures are very different if not non existent. This kind of thing hurts the 3d printing community not by legislation but by losing support by people who want their contributions to be used for constructive purposes. If 3d printing is associated with manufacturing weapons then people who are against such aggressive actions are not going to support the 3d printing movement. Look how much of a hit hydroponics has taken now that it’s associated with drugs. It’s still moving and i saw something recently on HAD regarding hydroponics for vegetables but the reality is that this kind of thing is really uncommon because hydroponics is now synonymous with growing cannabis.

    3) I personally don’t care too much if laws on firearms are restricted but yes, your damn right this could put restrictions on firearms. What if laws were changed so that certain parts required a government issued number and only approved manufacturers could provide them? That means no more gun mods, no more customization, no more cheep online accessories and firearms become much more expensive. If the way that Defense Distributed makes firearm components becomes regulated, it will close allot of doors for the custom firearm market. The way they operate can be considered reckless in regards to their goal of circumventing gun control.

    4) Lets see you try to hide a gun somewhere where you can get through a metal detector. It would be difficult if not impossible. Now how many places on the body is it perfectly reasonable to have metal and compact enough to hide a bullet? Now it gets a bit interesting. now lets say you modified the prints so that each piece of the gun looked like something else? Don’t forget that although this thing is harmless on it’s own, it’s the start of things that could be much more problematic in the future.

  11. Here we go….

    …at least on this site you can ignore the article to avoid the inevitable political name calling, witch-hunts, Team Left/Team Right BS, and political zealotry that will inevitably follow in the comments.

    It used to be advances in technology were celebrated. Now they are vilified if they don’t fit into a narrow “politically correct” spectrum.

    1. Just came from the same article on bbc news (1000+ comments there) where the reception is predictable and aggressive towards U.S. citizens:

      hit “highest rated”.

      Over here there’s a cool breeze of info & some pretty cool anecdotes.

      I hope though that this progress doesn’t explode in our face, so to speak. They probably won’t/can’t ban plastic guns. They might try to control 3D printing tech or components.

    2. Well, guns are something that kills people, whatever the details and subtleties. It’s a bit more than “political correctness” that makes people concerned about them. Either way, pro or con, deadly weapons are always going to be a big deal.

      1. Guns are not made to kill, they are made to cast a projectile in a repeatable manner into the direction the muzzle is pointed. If it is pointed at a paper target, it is considered practice, if it is pointed at random person on the street, it is considered murder, and if it is pointed at your would-be rapist, it is considered self-defense.

          1. Guns don’t kill people, soldiers do, politicians order them, and voters support it all.

            If you would just stop supporting coercion, force, and violence at home & abroad, then maybe we could get down and help all those poor sick souls that got it into their heads to murder innocent children because they didn’t get any from their wife, or because a foreign government is meddling with and killing their countrymen, or because the inhumane conditions at school made them snap, or one of a myriad of other social-stress-related triggers.

            Or you can just continue supporting a violent system that will criminalize peaceful people based on the property they own, and will use the very guns you fear to take it from them. Then you will be stuck with a bunch of thugs with guns, and no way to defend yourself from them. (If only one part of society has guns: law enforcement, military = government, guess where all the thugs and corrupt criminals will go. Have gone, actually)

      2. Anything can be made to kill people. All this gun control is a meme propagated to further the electability of certain portions of our corrupted political system. Nothing more than dramatic football and more cheerleaders to pack the stadium to make a profit.

  12. I had a friend who saw my 3dp and was immediately having grandiose delusions of starting up a (profitable) business selling extended mags. I kinda laughed at him. My opinion is anyone who thinks like this probably lacks what it takes to ever get , or maintain a calibrated printer. Moreover I think there are better options for undetectable weapons. Im not going into them , I think that would be irresponsible, but I think there is a better chance of someone who is drawn to 3dp to make guns , of hurting them selves when it explodes in their faces than hurting someone else.
    My personal fear is stupid people getting scared and thinking attacking 3dp will negate the danger. It wont. What it basically comes down to is any of us who could make something dangerous on a printer could find 350 better, cheaper ways to fire a bullet, or even to design our own.
    The real danger is people want to negate dangers. Any one with a bit of ingenuity is capable of being dangerous. What they are really trying to limit is knowledge. I wouldn’t fight to defend my printer but I would fight for the right to study anything that interest me.
    I support the second amendment. I also have no personal use for guns. I dont own any. I also think I am safer if guns are legal. Restricting them will only effect those who follow the rules any way.

    1. Well what I see in regulation is a way to forbid someone who have a bad day to kill an entire school. Here gun are forbidden if you have a bad day you can’t get your hand on a gun easily. It leave time to think and avoid a mistake. So I’m in favor of regulation, not anybody should be able to get a gun easily. It is like continuing to use your car when you are too old. IT is not forbidden but it should be regulated, not anybody is able to continue to drive past 90yo

      1. The reality is guns proliferated like 200 years ago. Go to africa where food and water are scarce , ak47 is 50$. They are everywhere. Bad people who shoot up schools are going to do their thing even if guns are magically removed from the equation. Reality is a gun is about the least efficient way to kill people. We are fortunate the ones who snap are not thinking clearly and dont see this.

        1. A gun is the most efficient way of killing lots of people. Apart from maybe a nuke. Bombs fail and can’t be targeted.

          How is somebody going to shoot up a school without a gun? With a big knife you’d maybe take out a couple of the biggest wieners before you’re wrestled to the ground or hit with a chair or something. Nobody’s hiding all the non-firearm massacres because there aren’t any.

          In the UK and most of Europe, where guns are illegal, we have the odd gun massacre, but it’s really rare. I’d guess much rarer, per capita or whatever, than the USA.

          On the issue of gun control, on the one hand I don’t like governments having all the weapons. Though even an armed man’s going to have a hard time mounting a revolution. On a practical level I’m glad I know there’s just about zero chance anyone I know will ever be shot. Even by criminals. Because the police aren’t usually armed (except the special squads called out to situations involving firearms, who keep their guns locked up until they’re needed), criminals don’t usually bother carrying guns either. They rely on the old-fashioned and more reliable method of running like hell. I know plenty of drug dealers and petty thieves, I’ve never seen a real gun.

          1. If you can make well-trained, respectful teenagers, then you’ve done better than most people’s parents.

            I’m sure the various school shooting teenagers knew how dangerous their guns were. They wanted to kill people on purpose! There’s no really safe way of doing that.

          2. “I’ve never seen a real gun.”

            I think I’ve found the problem here.

            Greenbaum, I would like to invite you to my family’s private shooting range, where I can teach you the proper care and safe handling of firearms. The range would be supervised by a skilled, knowledgeable and trustworthy individual, and the range itself has an outstanding safety record.(not a single injury since before I was born.) I have a collection with a wide range of functionality, caliber, and “boom,” from the first gun I ever owned(no kick, tame report, super accurate) all the way up to an authentic elephant gun(I don’t recommend this one for beginners, though the bruised shoulder would be a good icebreaker when you get back home). All perfectly legal, of course. Lots of background checks. Family and friends of the family have been there to learn to shoot or simply to spend a day making some noise in a safe environment. It’s pretty clear at this point a large portion of your fear is based on ignorance, and the cure for ignorance is education.

            I would like to. Unfortunately, our state governor recently signed a law which would make it illegal for me to loan you one of my guns to learn on, and as a non-US citizen, I somehow doubt you’d be able to pass the requisite background check to buy one for yourself.

            (Note this is a standard invitation that I have handed out periodically to individuals I thought could benefit from safety and shooting lessons.)

      2. The most bloody school killing in (US) history was not committed with a gun, but with explosives whose base compounds are available at any supermarket.

        Crazed killers gonna be crazy & kill, and no amount of legislation will stop them. But armed people might.

      3. I agree, if someone want to kill he will kill whatever. But someone that don’t really want to kill can go to a shop buy a weapon on rage and kill someone. Here it can’t happen, to acquire a gun it take time and money it let you time to cool and think of what you are going to do, most of the time it is enough to stop you before making a mistake. How many people are in prison in US for just killing one person? And how much of them will tell you it was a mistake?

        1. Most people in US are in prison for crimes without victims, like possessing a powder, plant, or simply because the officer thought orange jumpers might suit them.

        2. Small problem: there’s no evidence to suggest that “cooling off” periods actually work. State crime records show that in 1992, states with waiting periods and other laws delaying or denying gun purchases had an overall violent crime rate more than 47% higher and a homicide rate 19% higher than other states. In the five states that have some jurisdictions with waiting periods (Georgia, Kansas, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia), the non-waiting period portions of all five states have far lower violent crime and homicide rates…

    2. ” Restricting them will only effect those who follow the rules any way.”

      Why outlaw murder? It only effects those that follow rules anyway ;)

      Sorry, just that silly line gets on my nerves. By all means support gun ownership, but don’t use arguments that effectively could apply to any law.

      1. Because a large number of (sadly dwindling) people have these things called morals. I collect guns. I get PO’ed, but i’m not gonna kill someone over it. Same way you (hopefully) don’t break someone’s nose because you don’t agree with them. People don’t murder each other, not because its illegal, but because of the mental/psychological trauma it usually creates. Gangbangers who do murder multiple people do not feel such things and thus do it repeatedly. Here in the US, gangbangers oft flash guns, but knives, shivs & the like are their quiet trade. Why are those items not talked about much?
        Not as good of a story as “omg gunz gunz gunz assault weapon MIT shootingthatneverhappened”. Laws do little to prevent, but provide a system of punishment and dispute settlement. Those who wish no harm to others are the most subjugated, sadly. Honestly, I wish the Us would go through and redo its entire law system, as there are so many contradictions and laws based on lies. For example, legalize machine guns. Why? Because since civilian machine guns were in any government record, 2 crimes have been committed with those manufactured legally, 1 a police officer with a vendetta kept a suspect trapped in interrogation before taking a department owned Mac 10 and killing the man. The other was a Psychiatrist on LSD who shot his wife, then himself. The other 280k+ recorded on the civilian market since 1936? No crimes committed with whatsoever. Unlike today, 18th century English was quite clear on the definitions of arms vs ordinance, arms being what can be carried, maintained & utilized by a single person. Anything bigger is ordinance. The second amendment guarantees the right to keep & bear arms. Not ordinance. So an individual has no right to a nuke, or a howitzer, or a heavy mortar, etc.

        1. “People don’t murder each other, not because its illegal, but because of the mental/psychological trauma it usually creates.”

          While it is probably true that the moral component is the strongest deterrent against committing murder, I think that there are many people that would have killed if they were certain they could get away with it. This becomes very clear from the atrocities that are committed during a war.

          If you make it easier for people to kill others, it will happen more.

          1. You do realize how easy it is to kill people, right? You don’t even need a weapon. You can poison, asphyxiate, starve, parch, burn, smash, push, etc. and in some cases you just need to slightly jab the right spot.

            Despite killing being so easy, for some reason the majority of people abstain from it. Could it be that as social beings, people realize that they get more things done when they can count on the division of labor to help each other survive? That maybe if I do you wrong today, I will no longer be able to count on your help tomorrow? That maybe you and yours will retaliate?

            It is against your and my best interests to kill each other, and the majority of people agree, there are some people who are too sick to realize the value of live people, and we need to help these people as much as we can, but when their actions threaten our lives, we have the right and duty to defend ourselves.

      2. Murder is already illegal. There’s no reason to make specific forms of murder also illegal. If the illegality of the one is not a deterrent, adding extra laws only makes them more confusing.

        Let’s put it another way. Statistics show that most rapists have a penis. Does that mean that we should outlaw penises? If not, does that mean we should legalize rape?

        1. Penises are designed to do only one thing. The other “use” is actually a cleaning function, and can be accomplished without the rod-design, as is demonstrated with the other sex. Look at the statistics, and you will realize that rape could not take place without balls & penises. We should totally outlaw them, even if we can only stop one rape, it would be totally worth is because the average number will have been reduced!

          End rape, ban penises!

  13. I feel many commenters on this subject, yourself included Caleb, approach the issue purely from an American viewpoint (whereas the 3D printing community is very much a global one). Here in the UK, guns are not impossible to obtain but very very tightly controlled – the vast majority of our police are not armed. 3D printers, on the other hand, are becoming ubiquitous. For example, we have several in my university, and if I could now go into campus and print myself a firearm (I can already just use a 3D printer if necessary) then this is clearly very alarming, particularly to law enforcement.

      1. Good point. However, it would take some knowledge and, perhaps, skill to make an accurate weapon that can be fired as easily as this pistol, kept concealed as easily etc. If I can 3D print one, however, then it would be simply a matter of giving the file to the University technicians who calibrate and operate the printer i.e. it requires neither skill nor knowledge from myself to obtain an accurate, concealable (and difficult to detect), easy-to-fire pistol.

        1. You only need to get off one shot, and it doesn’t need to be accurate. Ask the French Resistance during WW2: They used zip-guns to kill Nazis, and just took their guns.

        2. So, at this point, the University technicians should be able to decide if the gun should be printed (otherwise know as control). Obviously, it takes some skill to operate the printer, not something the average guy on the street can do. And most of the criminals, aren’t even on the same level as the average guy on the street.

          1. It can’t be that hard to operate a 3D printer. I haven’t got one, but aren’t they usually made from kits? And they only came into existence a couple of years ago. All the current amateur 3D printers are operated by people who learned as they went along. Surely a bit of practice is all it takes.

        3. Burn Notice had Michael Weston make a “gun” out of a length of pipe, a soda bottle cap, a screw, and a bullet he stole from his intended target. As far as I could tell, it was a workable design, too. (though as-used it would have left a scar on his hand)

          The art of violence is instinctive in humanity. In the right hands, with the right mind, any and all items can be used to harm or kill people in myriads of unpleasant and covert ways.

        4. Accurate? That thing most certainly is not. Concealable? Judging by the size in comparison to his hand, that thing is better than twice the size in every dimension of a full size (not easily concealable) handgun. Here’s something quite a few people on Youtube have done for kicks: 3/4 pipe (put a 12 gauge shotshell here), a length of pipe that fits snugly over the .75″, an endcap for pipe 2, and a dap of jbweld in the center of the cap’s inside for a firing pin. They make it long enough for legalities, but a criminal could make the whole thing about a foot long, with 2 extra pieces of pipe to function as grips. That 3d bit could only muster 15% of the energy of the aforementioned pipe gun.

      2. Sorry, to clarify, I’m not against innovation such as this (personally I think it’s really cool!) but I do think the controversy should not be dismissed.

        Also, I accidentally clicked ‘report’ on your comment when I meant ‘Reply’ – sorry about that.

      3. The UK has about 1/10 the gun crime as the US. There’s all sorts of improvised weapons possible – but its very very very rare to see any. At least, projectiles.

        Possibly because budding MacGyvers tend to think about there actions more?

          1. His point should be that it’s pointless to compare the attitudes to guns in the UK and USA. Here in the UK gun control legislation has a long and tortuous past, much of it due to some rather creepy knee-jerk reactions to things politicians don’t like.

            The USA couldn’t get to where the UK is, even if they wanted to, since they’re effectively where the UK was in 1925 when disarming of the population was was being debated due to fears that the combination of the hopeless and perceived cowardly performance of our (almost exclusively) aristocratic general staff in WW1, coupled with a fear of revolution due to the activities of V. I. Lenin and company in Russia, amongst other places.

            Basically the ruling elites shat themselves and the UK was disarmed in 1926.

            Immediately after WW2 we had the Atlee government (W. Churchill and his chums were held in such esteem that they had their arses kicked out at the first electoral opportunity), knees jerked into aristocratic groins for the first time, big changes were enacted to the benefit of the common man, and the country was absolutely awash with illegally held arms courtesy of A. Hitler’s associates distributing souvenirs and Her Majesty’s quartermaster’s stores not asking questions that didn’t need to be asked.

            Please, please, please don’t take the UK as any kind of example – We’re not, and would probably buy as many guns as people in countries with more liberal laws, given the chance. In particular, don’t allow yourselves to be railroaded by a government that fears it’s own population more than any of it’s supposed external enemies, and which is prepared to sacrifice everything and everybody to preserve it’s own power. We did… :( Still do… :( :(

            P.S. The reason the Brits don’t make their own guns is that France is only half an hour away by train and they advertise mail order guns in their TV listings magazines. They also shoot about 40 of their number in arguments over parking spaces in Paris every year, but as terrible as this number sounds, it’s still not nearly enough :).

      4. Probably not. That is why they are uncouth foreigners. Enlightenment stops beyond the US borders! If those filthy reprobates only knew how little we cared about them…

      1. Do you think that making ammo is all that difficult? A lot of people reload their own. The only hard part is the brass. The rest is widely available, and extremely easy to work.

        1. I should have said not “easy to acquire for a regular customer that would use a regular printer to build his weapon”. If you know how to make ammo you probably know how to make a firearm out of regular supply you can find at you local home depot. But I have to say that it is not “THAT” easy to get you hand on powder or amorce or anything else regularly without a licence in my country.

          1. That is kind of our point. I’m pretty confident every one of hackadays audience could find a way to be much more efficient. With the university , you still need a tech who is willing to print you a gun. It is a ‘stupid people’ choke point. Anyone able to circumvent that would know a more efficient way to achieve devious goals.

          2. We are on the same point, but again even if it is a ‘stupid people’ choke point, in my country you can’t get ammo. You would have a usable gun but no ammo to fire it. It is not easy to acquire ammo here nor it is easy to build them (availability of material). (without a proper licence, but if you have the licence you can get a war weapon anyway)

          3. Again Volfram I agree, the argument was on “printed gun lower the barrier to create a gun” as addidis said “Anyone able to circumvent that would know a more efficient way to achieve devious goals.” Anybody with the right knowledge can make an ammo. But the mass people can’t, printing a gun is feasible for anybody or just go to a place to have it print. The things is still that it is hard to get ammo for the mass so you can get a gun easily but you can’t get ammo. (Again it is relevant for my country)

        2. Where’d you get the percussion cap from? Where do you even get the propellant? In countries where guns are illegal, usually bullets are too. And it tends to be hard to get hold of explosives. The brass and the lead are the easy bits.

          1. You could use NI3, dip some iodine crystals in ammonia, and handle VERY carefully… Don’t try this anywhere, especially not in larger quantities. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
            It’s ONE example of many different ways of making contact explosives.

          2. Ah yeah, the old nitrogen triiodide. Mate of mine thought about making that when we were in school. We did make some easier, less dangerous stuff though. And hot-air balloons out of plastic bags. And all sorts of stuff.

            But yeah, doesn’t NI3 tend to go off at random, from just letting it dry out, to looking at it funny? Not practical to have a clip full of bullets that go off by themselves. Pretty sure it’s hard to get mercury fulminate, or whatever they use, in a country where guns aren’t legal.

      2. Umm….licence? I don’t know what country you live in, but here in the U.S. We can walk into any Walmart, show our I.D. to the cashier and purchase any common caliber. No background check or licence required. (except perhaps in New York or California. I’m not sure how restrictive the laws in those states are)

        1. That is what I’ve said above responding to the ‘this is an American point of view’. I’m from Belgium, gun are prohibited to the public. You can get them with a licence that follow a psychological exam, a theoretical exam (regulation) and a manual exam (you attend to it at your local police station).

          1. To clarify, everybody can get a gun in Belgium but you can’t get it without a proper licence, like a driving licence. You spend few weeks using a gun at a gun range with a teacher then you can pass the exam at the police station, then you can have any gun you want. But you can’t walk in the street with it, you can only carry it from your house to any gun range using the shorter way and you can’t carry it loaded, guns are in the trunk in a locked case, ammo are in the glovebox in a locked case and your weapon can’t have its percuter mounted (or you need to lock the trigger with a key). It work well, it is not too annoying and it help the police to know who has gun in his house. And people who don’t want to practice the sport or hunt don’t pass the licence so they don’t get gun so in a heat moment they can’t mistakenly kill someone.

  14. There are so many weapons in the US that anti-gun laws are about as effective as anti-pot laws, even where pistols have been illegal for almost a century (NY,) there are at least 2 million illegal handguns in NYC population ~7.5 million.

    Some police districts will buy guns as a PR move. They often sell them out of their State to recoup the costs.

  15. It’s true that this doesn’t significantly change the availability of guns, because there are already easier and cheaper ways to get them. What this does is set a new lower limit for the ease and cost of obtaining a firearm. It renders any attempt to restrict the existing channels even more obviously futile.

    1. Yes that is pretty much the issue. Again in my country robber use airsoft gun to attack shop! No need for the real things it works even without it. Nobody needs to die. Then someone will say that the shop manager should have a gun, well in that case robber would use real gun too and peoples would die.

        1. Good idea :D

          I mean the debate is so futile, it will not change a lot of things only it might be an excuse for lobby to forbid home use of 3D printer. The black agenda would be to limit the copy of copyrighted material again.

  16. A gun is a very simple device, if you can even call it that, and this really means little except that the media-noise will make the governments do something insane now.. sigh.

    Oh and you still need metal parts also, can’t do without a spring and a barrel and bullets.

  17. Yeah! I am glad not to live in a country where a 5 year old boy kills his sister with “my first rifle”. And hegot the rifle as a present! Owning guns should be illegal everywhere. Period.

    1. I love guns, own several. But I will go with your statement of “guns should be illegal everywhere. Period.” as long as it includes each and every government agency, everywhere. Period.

      1. That’s pretty much the case in the UK. Except for the police have a few armed response squads, for the few cases when crimes involve guns. Probably worth them having them. But ordinary police aren’t permitted to carry guns. The armed forces of course have guns but they’re not allowed to carry them outside their bases, and other people’s countries.

        The armed police keep their guns in locked cases in their cars, and require permission to open them. It was quite wierd to go on holiday to Tunisia as a kid and see police with machine guns all over the place.

    2. My cousin killed his friend with a car he got for his birthday. It was a tragic day, but tragedies will happen, so we need to prepare for them, and no amount of banning cars will stop them.

      1. leaning to deal with tragedy should be more like your pet gets run over not you killed you sister and will live with that guilt the rest of your life

        1. Still, pets get run over, and sisters are killed every day. And my cousin “should” not have run over her friend, and there “should” be no war, and bad things “should” not happen, only good things.

          But they do, even if we try real hard not to, sometimes even because we try to prevent them. That’s life for you. The box is open, and the evils have flown out, you can’t put them back into the box, you can’t legislate them away, you can learn to cope with them, and you can learn to use some of them to prevent different kinds of evils from getting out of hand.

  18. Just make the bullets even more detectable than they already are maybe add the same thing that makes smoke detectors radioactive or better yet, regulate the bullets instead of the guns. Maybe a dumb idea but just a thought.

  19. As for political anti-gun backlash and “undetectable” guns…am I the only one who saw John Malchovich machine a double barreled 44 from a delrin type plastic on “In the Line of Fire”? Anybody who wants to make a gun can do so, with or without 3d printing.

    1. I thought about that movie while reading thru these comments. But I thought it was a ceramic gun. I will admit I don’t know the difference between the two. I’m not sure either would be strong enough to contain the pressure of a 44, or even a 38. Some of the pistol cartridges generate some serious pressure when the primer is popped.

  20. I think its interesting that you can print something out of plastic that is strong enough to contain a fired bullet, this could be applied to a lot of non controversial uses as well.

  21. As far as detectability, there are “puffer” systems that can detect explosives/powder to a very high degree. TSA opts for the more expenisive scanners and metal detectors that do not work as well, because then vendor , Smith, is politically connected and farming them.

  22. Im not afread of being blown up by a terrorist, im not afread of being shot by an AR in a mass shooting

    you know what im afraid of? standing in line at the store, the guy behind me looks at the guy infront of me’s shoes the wrong way and he shoots at him killing me with a handgun

      1. A knife will do if you know how to use it, I don’t know how to use one as most of the people. And using a knife mean that you actually feel the knife which is a big psychological barrier, with a gun you just need to press and you can be far from your target. I imagine it would be even hard to understand that you have murdered someone.

          1. prignony: how are murders reported in Belgium? Is it the same as in the US, where a dead body which is not obviously suicide, disease, or accident is automatically classified as a murder, or is it the same as Britain and Canada, where a dead body is not classified as a murder until the murderer is caught, tried, and convicted? If you calculate the numbers in Britain the same way you calculate them in the US, Britain’s murder rate climbs to double that of the US. This is ignoring the fact that nowhere in the US has the same reputation as Glasgow, Ireland. The US city with the highest rate of homicide is also the city with the strictest gun laws.(Chicago, Illinois, for those interested.)

            Also, British and Japanese law enforcement are notorious for outright lying about their crime statistics.(a man in Japan who had obviously been tortured to death by Yakuza was classified as “heart disease”)

            Greenaum: Are we trying to reduce gun ownership, or are we trying to save lives? If your end goal is reduced gun ownership, then yes, it’s an odd comparison to make. If you’re trying to save lives, then excluding factors of death based on whether they were designed to kill is deceitful. So here are the numbers.

            Heart disease kills over 15x as many Americans per year as guns, including suicides and accidents.
            Medical malpractice kills 330% as many Americans as guns, including suicides and accidents.
            Automotive accidents kill 30% more Americans every year than guns do, including suicides and accidents.
            Every single mass shooting in the US of the past two decades has occurred in a gun-free zone.
            Gun owners prevent several million crimes per year, including burglaries, assaults, murders, and rapes. A gun not only equalizes a woman’s odds of fighting off a rapist without having to dedicate decades to self-defense unarmed combat training, it actually gives her an edge over an attacker twice her size. The total number of reported crimes prevented due to the presence of a firearm is over 100x the number of deaths caused by a firearm(again, including suicides and accidents), and easily over 50% of crimes prevented by gun owners are never reported, because no shots are ever fired and all parties choose to go their separate ways peacefully.

            Bottom line: guns save lives.

          2. In the uk murders are reported as investigated as and recorded as murders, even if a murder is never found.

            Glasgow isn’t in Ireland.

            Your point is that people lie about all kind of things and that makes gun death ok? It less statistically significant?

            My point is that your facts are made up, you lie so you don’t have an argument! And without an argument you don’t have a point…

            I have no strong views either way in this, but I’ve read this far and so will respond to another point made earlier,
            The guy who says he’ll just give cad files to technicians in his uni, they aren’t dumb, in fact they (having already completed their uni course and worked in industry and lived a life etc) are probably cleverer than you, they would recognise that you’re trying to make a gun and say no, and report you to the institution and the police, so now having wasted a boat load of money not getting an education getting kicked out and getting a criminal record to boot, that tech is going to be pleased you don’t own a gun.

            Also, same laws re manufacture still apply regardless if the method.

            I live in the uk. I don’t own a gun, I could make one but it’d be illegal (regardless of whether it’s done by 3d printer, lathe or mill.)

            This is entirely a non event, guns are described enough on the Internet that anyone who wants to make one can, there are plenty of machinists forums that discuss gun smithing and people who will happily give out advice.

            Making something repeatable is the hard part, also having the balls to fire your plastic gun (and still having your balls afterwards) is probably the biggest barrier to most home made guns.

            Doesn’t matter what country you’re in, or what the gun laws are.
            Tools, household chemicals and metal stock (and plastic stock) are unrestricted.
            Anyone saying that making black powder etc would be the hard part. Precussion caps can be made reliably with cap gun materials or red match heads, main propellant can easily be obtained from fireworks, (which can be bought anywhere.)

            Much as deference distributed like to think that they are changing the world, and are lapping up all the publicity associated with it. They are not world changing, or game changing.

            There is even a now it’s made episode on shotgun production!!

            This is basically a non-event.

          3. @Dan: OK, my geography is a bit off.

            You are the one lying:

            “Since 1967, homicide figures for England and Wales have been adjusted to exclude any cases which do not result in conviction”

            (link referenced from but I made sure to find an unbiased source so you wouldn’t have an excuse.)

            As you have chosen to lie about this simple fact, I see no reason to say anything further.

          1. Statistics can lie with the truth, anti gun activists will use contorted versions of those same stats to say “people who own guns are xx times more likely to die or kill an innocent than to kill a criminal” . That after even a cursory glance is flawed and even actually shows that gun owners are overwhelmingly good and decent people. The flaw is the idea that in a pro vs con statement that the only pro to gun ownership is dead badguys. The truth and the proof that guns are a mostly good thing in this country is that in well over 90% of all firearms self defense situations the defender decides NOT to shoot the offender. Most situations are resolved with no one being hurt at all. And the anti gun population would have you believe it is morally better to either die, suffer assault or use your fists to pummel your assailant. Antis gloss over the evidence by depending on the idea you cant prove a negative, can you prove the guy charging you with a knife really meant to hurt you when you killed him before he had the chance? Can you prove that all that chemo therapy and radiation stopped the cancer? Or did it just happen to go away by its self at that time?

    1. Yes and in the end that is what regulation offer, a way to stop people having a bad day to kill someone and regret it later. If you can’t get ammo or gun easily walking trough a shop you will think and avoid a mistake. It work well in my country.

      1. If someone wants a gun, he can and will get one, or build one. If this happens in a gun-free regulated area (like that island in Norway), then he knows he will not encounter any resistance, which might serve to solidify his determination in carrying out his heinous crimes.

        1. That guy in Norway also dressed as a policeman, and his victims actually rant to him for help only to be gunned down. Authority figures (or perceived ones), have a way of blinding people’s common sense. See also the Milgram Experiment. Then there’s gangs in L.A. that dress as police to rob houses, and along with the many court decisions reinforcing the dictum that the police exist not to protect, but to enforce laws, so pretty soon you realize that you cannot rely on the authorities to protect your property, rights, and life, so you need to grow up and take care of yourself & your family.

    2. There is always something to fear if we want to fear something.

      Someone could just as easily be texting while driving and crash through the store window and run you over while you’re in line at the checkout counter, too. Judging by the number of videos online showing exactly that, I’d say your chances of getting hit by a car while in line inside a store are most likely larger than being randomly shot by someone who was standing in line behind you but suddenly snaps for no apparent reason.

    1. Or just give everyone the option to conceal carry, that way no one can be sure who is armed, which will act as a deterrent to anyone but the crazies -but nothing will stop a crazy. Nothing, except for some well-placed bullets, that is.

      1. I agree completely.
        I’m reminded of a B-movie in which the orphan boy wants to pick a man’s pocket in the “wild west”. He quickly reconsiders because he doesn’t know who has a gun, and who does not. The “great unknown” helped to keep him honest! The movie acknowledged his DESIRE to steal, but also how without any violence, a crime was prevented.

  23. One thing that is often missed by the media frenzy is that to print an entire gun from plastic is not possible and the parts are mostly crap. You can print some gun parts but not a gun, there is a big difference and it makes the issue more complicated. A zip gun is not that great of a thing to carry around and is probably as dangerous to the user as it is to the target. Sure, you can print half of the parts for a firearm in plastic but you still need to be able to get or make some precisely machined metal parts, things like a rifled barrel, chamber, action, firing pin ect. The pressure created by the lowly little 22LR bullet is around 25,000 PSI, see how well your ABS or PLA plastics can withstand that pressure and heat.

  24. I totally understand why HaD would be hesitant to acknowledge these things considering just how volatile our ears are with regards to them of late. It’s really a pity how the logic is disconnected.
    I would like to address 3 issues of logic that this brings up:
    1. I am truly shocked by the people who claim to be hackers (or thereabouts) who actually believe that guns are preventable, or able to be kept away from anyone who’s truly resourceful. This is an epic brain fail. My toddler makes guns with rubber bands!
    2. People are stupid if they think violence is the gun’s fault. Guns are inanimate tools requiring direct user input to function. No gun(or sword for that matter), in the history of the world has shot a school under its own power.
    3. Life is impossibe to make “safe”… Politicians who argue are lying! Hackers know that where there’s a will, there’s always a way!!

    1. Not agree with your point 2. Regulation would avoid people who are not ready for it to have a gun (psychological exam, theoretical exam and manual exam, you don’t dive a car without a licence) and if it is not available easily at your local hardware store and it is a pain to get one it will prevent someone to kill another one on a “heat moment”. The time necessary to get a gun would let the head cool a bit, let things settle, think of what will happen, that will be enough to avoid a mistake most of the time.

        1. You can’t avoid all mistakes, how many American are in prison for only one murder they regret? How many could have been avoided by regulating a little bit (think of the driving licence would you let a 5yo drive your car on the highway without proper training?)

      1. There already is a mandatory waiting period in the U.S. to buy a gun and it was passed for that very reason. There might be ways around it, but there are ways around everything which is pretty much the point of those who support the right to own guns.

        And a driver’s license is not at all required to drive, as the various incidents of little kids and adults whose licenses were suspended or revoked being caught driving anyway can attest. Licenses ultimately only serve one purpose: They are a means for denying or revoking a right or privilege.

        1. You can still buy a gun at wallmart or anyshop, they are easy to find, if those gun are only available in gun shop, shop that are monitored then the issue is reduced.
          And for the car, you wouldn’t want anybody on the road, they are rules that need to be learned and a car is not an easy thing to use. You have to learn how to use it before you use it. The licence is there to teach you how to use a car and how to share the road with other peoples.

          1. And the rules says anybody can get a gun if he have a valid US ID right? Then are those rules enough? Do Walmart employee have the formation to know those rules? Do they receive a correct salary to follow those rules? Heck even a child can get a gun if a adult buy it for him!

          2. You have to pass a federal background check to buy a gun from Wallmart, or from any other gun retailer in the US. The background checks are done by computer, and usually only take a few minutes. Despite what the media claims you even have to pass a background check for most ‘gun show’ purchases… I don’t think there were any booths at the last show I went to that were not being run by gun dealers, who all do background checks. You could still buy a gun without a background check at a gun show by, eg, finding another attendee who is carrying around a gun you want to buy and trying to talk him\her into selling it to you, but that is rare. Most people who come to a show with guns to sell immediately take them to a dealer and sell them there because it is quicker.

            On the other hand the waiting period varies from state to state; the state where I live is fairly pro-gun, so there is no waiting period (other than the background check.) The state where I live also allows concealed carry of certain weapons… the user has to take a training course, pass a test, and then get permission from the sheriff for the city of residence. I know a grand total of ‘one’ person who has a concealed carry permit, a security supervisor where I work who is a retired cop.

        2. You don’t have an inalienable “right” to drive, there is nowhere in the constitution that says all Americans have the right to drive cars!

          So yes, car ownership and the use of roads is a privilege, privileges are earned, (for example by showing that you can drive in a safe and courteous manner. And that same privilege can be revoked for showing that you can’t.
          Much like how you might give a child a sweet as a privilege or reward for being good, and if they are not good you take away a privilege (not giving them sweets, removing a tv from their room, not giving them pocket money or grounding them.

          1. The right is not to “drive”, but to freely travel. Driving is a commercial activity and falls under the Commerce Clause, which has been used to control everything from movement all the way to forcing a farmer to grow plants that he wasn’t even going to sell because him not buying it from others was apparently stopping commerce.

            Must be nice to have all the guns, along with the support and legitimization of the “majority”.

      2. A significant number of people drive cars without licenses. One study estimated that 20% of fatal car accidents involve a driver who has never had a license or whose license has been revoked.

      3. First of all, regulation was adressed in #3.
        But your point is unfortunately taking the “red herring” that many people spout out in our global culture… Please read this logic and please disprove my logic if needed.
        If a crime is believed to be the gun’s fault, therefore the gun is responsible.
        If the gun is responsible, then the gun should be held liable.
        If the gun is held liable, then the gun should tried in court and held responsible for it’s crime.
        …Crime has always been a matter of personal responsibility. The US legal system tries PEOPLE for crimes… not animals, cars, or items/property. Heck, they try people for drunkenness crimes, why do they not take away booze?!

        1. For the alcohol, they tried and it did not work :p

          About your logic, I can’t comply since it is not a valid syllogism. To accept your logic I should accept all your premise and I can’t. It can’t be the gun’s fault, a gun is a tool, a tool is used by a person responsible for its use hence a person is responsible for the use of a tool.
          Now we know a gun is lethal tool, to use a lethal tool one need to be responsible (of its act), hence to own a gun one should be responsible.
          Now that we agree how do we know someone is responsible? Not anybody is, so it have to be tested. How do you test the responsibility? You put in place an exam that open the path for a licence. Now we know that all licensed (if the licence has been accorded with the utmost seriousness) are responsible for their tool. And irresponsible people should not have guns available any more.

          1. Alcohol didn’t work, because it is impossible to regulate (just like guns)

            You do make a good point on responsibility. If I may summarize; adequate regulation will bind the gun and person. I did overlook that. (It’s not truly possible, given the subjective nature of psychological evaluation) It is true, but it still doesn’t solve the base problem… criminals are effed up. Not the vast majority of people who own guns. They are responsible upstanding citizens.

            The base problem is that all of the crimes that have been committed with guns are crimes regardless of if the gun was involved at all. The intention was purely criminal. One must understand that exhaustive regulation is simply impossible. Inversely, if we went and made them legal to all, (and held everyone to a fixed standard).
            The system would resolve itself without regulation, because crime would be tried for the crime it is. Human nature will show itself true ONLY IF we try vigilantes, too and are consistent with everyone. There are even loopholes within this system, though!
            Regulation is really a lost cause, in my opinion.

          2. No, that would be an infringement on the 2nd amendment, we have the right to own a firearm, however implementing a test to give you the right which you are already given is moronic.

          3. Rights are not given, they are inherent. If you read the 2nd, you’ll see that it does not read as “Congress grants the People the right to bear arms”, but “…The right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” SHALL NOT be infringed.

            If you go to the top of the Constitution, then you find out who gives Congress the power to write laws. It’s right there in the first line of the preamble: “We the People”, and in Article 1 it says “All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States…”

            So who gives who those rights?

            Let me ask you another thing: Can you grant someone a power you yourself did not have? (Re-read the Constitution with that in mind, and be prepared to have your mind blown!)

      4. James Holmes was a perfectly normal kid in college. he had everything going for him, yet outa nowhere, he rigged his house with bombs and shot up a theater, he had body armor as if he was ready to fight to the death. My point is, you can’t tell who a nut is sometimes, many would slip by the exam; proving the exam to be pointless & a waste of resources.

        1. Notice how he went across town to the only cinema that had a gun ban, despite there being two cinemas much closer to his house. Gun free zones are victim filled zones.

        2. He did NOT have on body armor. That is a commonly repeated bit of mis-information that is as harmful as any directly concerning guns. He was wearing a “tactical vest” essentially the same thing a photographer or fisherman wears. A light vest with pockets designed to hold pieces of equipment. It had absolutely no ballistic resistive properties unless he happened to have the ol, bible tucked into the left breast pocket like some old war movie.

      5. From a technical standpoint, it would be much easier on the average budget to walk into a hardware store and make a zip gun than it would be to print a gun like this. If you have access to rounds, all you need is a few small diameter pieces of pipe, a spring, and a nail. If you don’t have access to round, you can still throw something together with a ball bearing and some black powder or propellant. Anyone who reads this sight regularly should be capable of making a “gun” not much less effective than this one with parts from your local hardware store. Also, and I’m not sure where you are from, but in the US owning a gun is a right. This makes licensing a very touchy subject compared to, say, driving a car, which is just a privileged. Anyway, I’ll try avoid politics as much as possible but no one should be afraid of the gun in this article. Gangbangers have been making things just as dangerous out of nails and rubber bands for years.

    2. I’d consider myself a hacker but I also would rather that getting hold of guns remains suitably difficult. I agree with all of your points but I also ask you this: why should any of those things be made easier?

      1. I’m sure your toddler can make guns with rubber bands but I doubt you’d be happy if every child in the nursery had a handgun.
      2. A sword is a lot harder to kill 27 people in one morning with.
      3. I’d like life to be as ‘safe’ as possible (unless the removal of safety is on my terms).

      1. We keep the President safe by surrounding him with dozens of guns.

        One person feels safer with guns close at hand. One person feels safer with guns as far away as possible. Who is right? Well consider this.

        1: Death can come at any moment. No precautions can ever truly make you “safe.”
        2: Doctors kill more people every year than firearms.
        3: Between January 1 and March 31, 2013, guns saved more than 100,000 lives. This is only the reported value. Most incidents are not reported.
        4: The average number of fatalities in a shooting where the shooter is stopped by a civilian is less than one-fifth the average number of fatalities in a shooting where the shooter is stopped by police.

        1. President is keeping safe with gun, mine is not and he is still alive (ok it is not the same thing I agree) gun should be in the end of law enforcement.

          2) I’m not that sure, so you say all doctor are murderer?
          3) they saves 100k life? Life that were threatened by other guns then? If no guns then thoses 100k life would not have been threatened.
          4) so you say that civilian stooping shooting is less efficiant that police stopping a shooting? (Shooting that should not occur at the first place if gun are not readily available) If it is the case then just let the police do its job and only carry your weapon when you go to the shooting range!

          1. *”in the hand of law enforcement” .
            Regulation is not a way of forcing you to throw your gun away, you would still get your licence and have the guns you want at home. But it will help regulating the possession of firearm by people that should not on any circumstance carry one unstable people for instance, alcoholic and all those kind. You should be happy about it, less peoples with guns mean that you have less potential opponents. You will be part of the few having a gun, trained to use it and rightful to carry one.

          2. RE #2: Being a doctor no more makes one a murderer than being a gun owner makes one a madman.

            RE #3: over 100,000 lives threatened by knives, cars, bare fists, feet, and whatever heavy, blunt object was at hand. You would sacrifice every last one of those 100,000 people for a slim chance to save one child.

            RE #4: English is clearly not your first language, and the language barrier has caused you to misread this statement. I will attempt to clarify. The statistic shows that police are MORE dangerous, and cause MORE collateral damage, and are LESS effective at saving lives than armed civilians. The average number of fatalities in a shooting stopped by police is more than ten. The average number of fatalities in a shooting stopped by civilians is close to two.

            RE your subsequent post: historically, every single incident of firearm regulation has led to confiscation, and disarmament has lead to totalitarianism.(Britain isn’t there yet, but they’re on the fast track.) Fewer gun owners means fewer people who can respond when everything goes pear-shaped.

        2. Sorry, I wasn’t clear my question was: of those 3 items you originally listed, why should any of them be easier?

          To respond to your points
          1. I’ve already agreed to that my question is why should it be easier for death to come for me?
          2. I’ll happily agree that they probably do, but they directly save even more than that and the majority of those people would have died from what ever was killing them anyway.
          3. Can I have a citation for that? How many of those lives were endangered by guns? How many would have been saved even if there wasn’t a gun?
          4. If the shooter didn’t have a gun then there wouldn’t have been any need for a civilian to do the police’s job

          Anyway, original question: why should any of your 3 original points be easier?

          1. I will answer only the most important question.

            “1: why should it be easier for death to come for me?”

            It shouldn’t. When death comes for you, you should have the option to fight for your life, if necessary by using lethal force against that threat. The same is true for me. The same is true for anybody. The right to life, and to defend one’s life against attack, is absolute.

            Were I an evil man, I could kill you with any number of things within my arm’s reach right now. I could kill you with any number of things within your arm’s reach right now. We’re hackers. Innovation and creative reapplication is what we do.

            You do not have the right to feel “safe.” You have the right, if someone or something comes and attempts to end your life, to protect it. If necessary, you have the right to protect your life at the cost of your assailant’s life.

            You have the right to kill a man who is trying to kill you.

            Ownership and possession of a weapon, such as a firearm, particularly a large-caliber firearm with a magazine capable of holding as many bullets as you may conceivably need to end the threat to your life, is one, perfectly legitimate, way to exercise this right.

            If you are never forced to exercise your right to self-defense, you are fortunate, as I have been.

            If you are ever forced to exercise your right to self-defense, would you prefer to leave your destiny in the hands of your attacker, or in your own hands?

            I choose my own hands.

            In deference to your beliefs, I will choose not to take your destiny into my hands unless you are actively threatening my life.

          2. I’ll sum up the previous post more succinctly.

            You do not have the right to “feel safe.”
            You DO have the right to self-defense.
            You have the right not to exercise your right to self-defense.
            You do NOT have the right to deprive me of my right to self-defense.
            Anything you do which deprives me of my right to self-defense permits me to exercise my right to self-defense.

          1. You never know, living in Hawaii has made me ponder our strategic advantage, any number of countries could pull a Red Dawn situation here.
            That whole well regulated militia thing sinks in when you’re in the middle of the ocean…
            I’m not saying it ever will, but if it ever did, I can only hope we will still have some means of protecting ourselves. Even if its a CAD file, stored on a disk, to be used on a 3D printer to make a “Liberator” pistol for the cause.

  25. I don’t know if this was brought up but for the individuals who are after guns it is probably cheaper and easier to just go purchase them illegally than go through all the trouble of printing them…..

    1. Glock and many other firearm manufacturers make polymer frame handguns. The slide, barrel, and other important bits are still made of metal, however. Plus the polymer is so dense it absorbs more than enough x-rays to show up on baggage and body scanners. They didn’t need to alter the design to make it more detectable. It is already just as detectable as a metal frame handgun.

  26. It seems to me that this is less of an issue towards gun control and more of an issue towards internet censorship. Let’s say you live in Europe or post-gun ban America. This ability to create a gun, whether you are downloading an .STL file to print one or you download a .pdf to show you how to make one out of pipe, just means you can work around the local ban. I’m more concerned that this would be used as an example of why a country would need (read as “a government would want”) to implement internet censorship. Censoring the instructions or the manual would be the only way a government could then control gun ownership within its borders.

    1. Yeah I fear that also, internet censorship. It is going to be an argument to restrict the use of internet or to control it even more.

      But the new law in US should not be a full gun ban. Merely a licence to use a gun like the driving licence. You got a ticket when you drive to fast, you would got a ticket for carrying a gun not respectfully. You get a ticket for driving with alcohol, you would get a ticket for carrying a gun when drunk. Those kind of stuff.

        1. Well I don’t think you are far from the reality, it is not that hypothetical. Corporation will soon enough want a ban on home 3d printing to protect their copyrighted material. And we know for a fact that they are really powerful. I’m not sure we are so far from a ban, and the gun printing argument will be one that is going to be used. Like you have a printer under the terrorist act you go to prison because you can make weapon. Isn’t it the same with the fight against public drones at the moment?

          1. That certainly would make for strange bedfellows. You’d have the private gun companies and possibly the NRA supporting the government’s actions towards limiting a person’s right to bear an arm.

          2. The gun companies, who have apparently turned the NRA into not much more than a marketing front company (and many of their members are pissed off about that), don’t care whether you have a gun. They only care that you bought one of their guns. They’re businessmen, not cowboy heroes.

            Unfortunately firearms are big money, which in every other field of politics has only ever brought bad news and damage to democracy.

      1. The problem there is obviously the possibility of abuse. It has infact happened in our past. Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr famous activist and advocate for passive protests was denied the right to carry a hand gun by the then racist and corrupt powers that be? Can you think of another American figure that had a more obvious need to defend him self and his family? It happened that the people who had the authority to allow or disallow self defense at the time would have been happy to see this particular man lynched, along with his wife and young children. You think the US is some wild west fantasy land where we are just now learning about gun control and its effects. We are not., We have a long turbulent history between our founding and today of discovering and rediscovering our constitution and what it means. The 2nd has been oppressed many times always at the expense of a minority of one sort or color. Same goes for the 1st 4th etc etc. We KNOW our selves what happens when we follow to closely the example set by the UK Europe and other nations in this area. You can allow your governments to do as you wish but we know as the numbers show that guns work here, more people by far are saved than lost including would be criminals and killers given a second chance by an armed ethical citizen. We know from our own history alone the cost of ignoring the rights outlined in the founding documents as well as the implied responsibilities. The common thread among the growing number of nations with bans or strict gun laws is the apparent majority wanting to be absolved of personal and civil responsibility. This ofcourse is at the expense of a very upset minority who are oppressed and marginalized in a way we struggle every day to prevent in the US. In the US the government is designed to protect a minority form a ruthless majority, it dose not always work the first time but I don’t believe the European Democracies offer anything like the same protection.

  27. I think Caleb’s got the right idea. I don’t care either.

    But unfortunately I think legislators might. And the hysterical public/media. Especially if one of these is ever actually used to commit a crime, and even more so if the person who did it isn’t the person who made the gun.

  28. Just a quick guess, but I am going to predict that in the end the NRA will come out against being able to print your own guns. It may be a novelty now but sooner or later it will affect the arms dealers ability to sell weapons.

  29. Okay where do we draw the line. 3D printed pressure cookers?

    BTW What is the record number of comments on a HaD story? Keep it up everyone lets set a new record!!! :D

    1. I think I’ve seen just about 300 comments before they seemed to rather abruptly stop. That made me wonder if there was a hidden limit, or the editors shut it down (it was no longer civil).

      And I’m all for 3D printed pressure cookers… if they work. :)

  30. As for the Bullets: there are all plastic Shotgun-shells with non-metalic shot (As well as those taser-darts and beanbags). Sure The liberator is no shotgun but that could be the next step.

  31. Forget 3-D printed conventional firearms, just wait until folks get REALLY creative and start designing weapons that are completely novel and unexpected and don’t look like anything anyone has ever seen before.

    Why does a projectile have to ejected with hot gasses from small explosions as in conventional ammunition? Why not compressed air, or even some as-yet-unimagined hybrid of a firearm and a crossbow that shoots small projectiles with a mechanism placed under high tension? Just look at the wild contraptions Jöerg Sprave comes up with and he doesn’t even use a 3D printer yet (as far as I know); some of his designs can be adapted and shrunk in size for practical use/concealed carry while still remaining effective as weapons.

    This kind of innovation is ultimately pushing us to evolve culturally to a point where we begin to address the root causes of violence in general for real instead of the usual hollow grandstanding about education, poverty, and economic opportunity among politicians at election time.

    Technology available to the general public is becoming powerful enough to create a serious risk to social stability if we fail to address the motivations that cause people to try to rip off or kill each other BEFORE the relevant technology becomes ubiquitous. If we take the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” thing seriously then it implies we ought to find out why people want to kill people and then act to mitigate the reasons we uncover (not just talk about them).

    Civil behavior can’t be enforced on a population just like morality cannot be legislated because all impositions of order or control necessarily lead to the emergence of chaos (eventually). “Order” in a civil sense has to emerge spontaneously from within the population, not be imposed by some external force or it will implode the moment the imposing authority falters a bit.

    It’s beautifully ironic that the necessary dialogue for beginning to address this might be inspired by a paradigm shift in manufacturing that also happens to allow the unfettered proliferation of lethal (and novel) weapons. At this point it’s not “why can’t we get along?” It’s “we have to figure out how to get along ASAP, or else!”

    1. while still remaining effective as weapons.

      “effective” for a single shot of questionable lethality while being cumbersome, breakable, not robust, etc vs a 40 round, highly accurate ranged rifle isn’t a fair comparison.

      1. Have more faith in the evolution of technology to help perfect the art and science of killing each other (or disabling critical infrastructure, or who-knows-what-else)! My point was that we ought to have the dialogue and start addressing root causes of violence BEFORE technology evolves to a free-for-all where all of the proverbial cats are out of all the regulatory bags and any jackass with a few bucks can manifest whatever they desire on command. I figure that point is still years away, but then so are any viable solutions to the underlying causes of violence.

    2. Its certainly true that hard definitions of weapons will become meaningless.
      We need to stop categorizing by mechanism and instead categorize by effects.

      However, It doesn’t mater how uptopain you make society, there’s always going to be the odd nutjob. The key is to try to find a balance between the usefulness of a tool for the 99.99%, verse the destructive power it will give to the 0.001%.

      1. Precision, shmercision… Just build a bigger bomb (Michio Kaku can help with that, there’s a textfile on teh interwebz by him on just how to build the big one from scrap)

        1. In the event that I need to protect someone from a dangerous attacker, I’d prefer an option that doesn’t devastate everything in a ten-meter radius.

          If you’re still desperate for something that explodes, they sell inexpensive Tannerite target kits at most gun shows.

          1. Oh yeah sure, if I wanted to kill a lot of people, I’d use some sort of wide-dispersion firebomb. A small explosive packed inside a tank of gasoline, for example.

            Contrary to popular belief, most “gun nuts” actually don’t want to kill anybody.

    1. According to those same statistics, those people are 27 times more likely to prevent a crime with those guns than they are to injure somebody.

      I’ve been surrounded by guns my entire life. The only gun-related injury I’ve ever experienced was cutting my hand on a safety while familiarizing myself with a new pistol.

      1. “I’ve been surrounded by guns my entire life. The only gun-related injury I’ve ever experienced was cutting my hand on a safety while familiarizing myself with a new pistol.”

        I presume you’re a decent person with the sense to react safely to dangers. If there were a law to only allow guns for nice sensible people who aren’t going to shoot anybody, I’d support that.

          1. I think it’d be safer if none of us had guns. That way I don’t have to kill any assailants of Volfram’s mum, and he can’t go apeshit when she dies. If he has to go on his rampage armed with a cordless drill and a potato peeler, the public will probably be much safer.

            As far as his mother goes, she could just hire a beefy guy to follow her around. She can come live in Europe where nobody’s likely to shoot her, the big dude can take care of any of the remaining threats (that a gun would be any use against), and nobody has to kill anybody.

          2. Greenaum, are you threatening my mother? It looks like you’re threatening my mother.

            She doesn’t need to hire a bodyguard. She has a gun.

      2. Actually, I didn’t say all people, I said a lot of people. “The second claim… whose name I’ve forgotten”. That is not citation. Also conveniently left out “Your gun is 19 times more likely to kill you or a family member than it is to kill an attacker” right above…

          1. It’s not statistics, it’s just some guy saying he did research in a thread post. With regards to your other post, I guess you might have a case if a large number of muggings/break ins ended in harm to the victim. I don’t know myself whether this is the case. However, this discounts the fact that the assailant can as easily as you have a gun ready, making you powerless (more so than if he had a knife, which is also less fatal). Also, you’re trading the security of being able to avoid a mugging for the danger of accidental discharge, public shootings etc. I think the most legitimate argument against gun control is that criminals will have easy access to them since they’re so prolific.

          2. You know, it’s been studied. In cases where popular bridges for people to jump off have had safety barriers fitted, people haven’t just found other bridges to jump off. They decide they may as well live instead. Making it harder to kill yourself actually does prevent a lot of suicides.

            For one obvious reason at least, people aren’t usually rational when they decide to end it all. It’s not a pragmatic, logical decision. It’s the same with guns (and that’s been studied, too). Take away the 1-click method of killing yourself, leaving only the messy and painful ones, and people decide not to bother.

            Of all the things in the world, people are the least likely to work according to simple logical principles. So yes, taking away people’s guns reduces suicides, so those lives would be saved. Hopefully, eventually, the would-be self-deliverers appreciate that.

          3. Incidentally, I was suicidal in America at one point in time, and though I could have walked right into a Walmart and bought a shotgun to end it all, I chose not to do that because the reprecussions of that act might have been used to infringe upon the rights of my countrymen, so I was going to take liver-destroying pills instead.

            As you rightly put it, people aren’t usually rational when they decide to end it all, so they will not always choose the least painful method.

            Luckily for me I met a long-lost friend on the way to the pharmacy, and he talked me into seeing a psychiatrist.

    2. Yeah that’s almost as funny as people who run over themselves or a family member with their own car (both do happen). Statistically-speaking, your chances of committing autocide are a lot greater if you or a family member owns a car. Still, being run over or shot isn’t anywhere near as funny as the thousands of incidents of people being severely injured or killed every year thanks to falling in a bathroom, and having a bathroom in the home puts one at far greater risk of this happening yet many of us continue to live in dwellings with this hazard in reckless disregard of our own safety, and some people even let their children use bathrooms. But who cares? People hurting or killing themselves is “amusing!”

      1. That is how I feel about these things. Gun violence? Why should we care? Bombing in mass? So what? Orders of magnitude more people die to completely legal, completely avoidable things and nobody cares about them.

        It’s disgusting really. So disingenuous. Tens of thousands die every year from things that people see as entertainment but a handful of people die to something uncommon and it is a huge uproar for months.

          1. Statistically being an astronaut is pretty dangerous, one of the most dangerous occupations. OTOH it’s also fantastic! So I think that’s why people choose to do it, knowing the risks more acutely than most people. And in the past, many of the pilots were Navy test pilots, so they were used to flying dangerous craft.

            In the case of Challenger, it was, briefly, a fault in maintenance and manufacturing, and concerns had been raised on paper previously that would have prevented it happening, if the right people had listened. That is something to make a big deal about.

            Same with Apollo 13, which was due to a stupid mistake people on the ground made. AIUI the oxygen tank’s heater system, which ran on 28VDC in the spaceship, was used to boil off the tank after a test on the ground. The tanks had been adapted to also function on the 65VDC KSC ground power. Except for the thermostat, which was missed and left with the 28VDC unit.

            When it was connected to ground power, the thermostat’s contacts welded shut, leaving the heater permanently on. Somebody should have been in charge of this, of checking the system. It’s the sort of thing you’d get reprimanded for if you worked in plumbing, never mind moon launches! Nearly everything on NASA missions has a backup system, running on different principles to the main system, if not two.

            People get pissed off about preventable accidents, and the more easily preventable, the more pissed off.

      2. Yes but bathrooms and cars have significant non-killing uses, so it’s worth tolerating the deadliness for the cleanliness and convenience.

        Unless you actually hunt, the only other thing you could do with a gun is to kill someone. On purpose, in self-defense, by accident, whatever. That’s the difference, as if anybody making such a stupid point really doesn’t know.

        Put another way, my life on this Earth has taught me the human race contains a significant proportion of stupid, vicious assholes. Deny that. I’d rather they weren’t armed, so I don’t need to worry about being able to shoot them first before they get me.

        While criminals may not always follow gun laws, in countries where guns are illegal, there’s a huge amount less of them, in the hands of criminals and anyone else. Some idiot might still rob you or kick your head in, but almost nobody gets shot.

        You can blame it on cultural differences if you like. In which case it might be wise to keep the guns out of people’s hands while you fix your culture.

        1. Yea, then when you are left without anything to protect yourself with from an oppressive government or invading country/mugger/home invader you’ll be wishing you hadn’t banned the only thing standing between you and others who would attempt to kill you.

          1. There’s plenty of Western governments that are a teeny bit oppressive and not really democratic. Instead they’re stitched up by money, big business, and party politics, to serve the rich at the expense of the 98% that’s everybody else. The USA and UK for two.

            So how’s the revolution going then, lads? When exactly ARE you going to start it? What further assault on your liberty does it take? And what’s your plan vis-a-vis the police, army, and National Guard? Sure wouldn’t want to face those without a gun in my hand.

            As far as burglars, they don’t usually intend to kill anyone. And if they don’t have a gun, it makes it harder if they do want to. And knowing that both of us are unarmed, means I don’t have to kill some poor fucker cos I’ve no idea if he can kill me from a distance. And if I fire first, isn’t he going to fire back, just to protect his own life?

            Mugging’s a bad thing, but it’s much less dangerous if everyone’s sure nobody has a gun. And muggings still go on in the USA. Whether you’re armed or not, wouldn’t you prefer it if your mother’s mugger wasn’t?

            Meanwhile, lazy and useless as they are, the police do most of the crime-fighting society needs, and they’re technically held accountable for their actions. Nobody shoots anybody and I think that’s a good thing.

        2. The “non killing uses” of bathrooms or cars are irrelevant to the point, which was about risk perception. And a few other non-killing uses for guns include collecting, competitive shooting, and recreational target shooting (targets made out of paper, that is). I guess crime deterrence would count as well since it isn’t “deterrence” if the gun is actually fired and if it’s not fired it won’t kill anybody unless you pistol-whip them with it just right.

          You said: “While criminals may not always follow gun laws, in countries where guns are illegal, there’s a huge amount less of them, in the hands of criminals and anyone else. Some idiot might still rob you or kick your head in, but almost nobody gets shot. ”

          That’s kind of revealing (and a little disturbing). I guess most Americans see it from a personal perspective, e.g. “I didn’t get robbed or have my head kicked in because I drew my gun and will continue to demand my right to protect myself effectively.” In my case I don’t want to be the gun control martyr laying there with a kicked-in head as there would be little consolation in knowing that I was a team player when it came to disarming myself for some abstract greater good that didn’t work out for me in particular very well at all.

          The European perspective seems to be statistically-based “We’ll collectively give up our guns to lower our collective risk of being shot” while hoping for the best in terms of avoiding robbery and assault at the personal level and crossing their fingers that their governments remains trustworthy (an odd hope, considering the region’s history).

          Ultimately what we have here is an insoluble conflict that will most likely just keep swinging back and forth between the various extremes like it’s been doing for the past few millennia and will probably continue for the next few. Same as it ever was…

          1. I think it’s pretty disturbing that people are willing to discuss murdering someone to avoid being mugged. Having your head kicked in is trivial compared to being shot. And from what I read in the news, if someone intends to kill you, no matter how paranoid or armed you are, you are probably going to die: I cite

            “He was said to have carried a gun with him everywhere, and was extremely cautious when opening the front door of his house” – plus multiple other shootings that went unabated.

            I think the European perspective is actually a completely different mentality. You are thinking as an American, who thinks it is his right to be armed. Europeans don’t think this about themselves; if you said you wanted to legalize guns they would look at you as if you were mad.

          2. argh, I certainly hope that most gun owners would not kill someone just to prevent monetary loss. I’m not going to say that it doesn’t happen and some states even have legal provisions in the form of stand your ground laws, but I think it is rare. The thing is, if someone approaches you with say a knife and demands money, they are a threat to your wellbeing. Maybe the guy doesn’t even have a knife, maybe he’s just huge or you are outnumbered. There is no guarantee that they are going to take your money and leave, these aren’t exactly honest types. If you have a concealed firearm, I would think that you would be much safer going for it than going for your wallet. Maybe not in all cases, but I think in most. Obviously, women have additional concerns that I generally don’t have to worry about as a man. Likewise, if someone breaks into your home, they are a threat to your wellbeing and anyone else in the house. You have no way of knowing that they will take your belongings and leave. I realize that Europeans have a different mentality about this issue. I respect that. European laws do not affect me.

          3. “The “non killing uses” of bathrooms or cars are irrelevant to the point, which was about risk perception.”

            It’s entirely the point. It’s a risk / benefit balance that informs people’s choices. I’ll take the risk of drowning in my bath in return for the pleasant cleanliness. If it were particularly dangerous, I might decide to have a shower. A man can live much better without guns than he can without bathing.

            “>And a few other non-killing uses for guns include collecting, competitive shooting, and recreational target shooting (targets made out of paper, that is). ”

            Two of those are the same thing, and “collecting” is really just ownership in a greater degree. You could collect Anthrax spores just as validly.

            >I guess crime deterrence would count as well since it isn’t “deterrence” if the gun is >actually fired

            And does it deter crime anyway? Does having a gun make a criminal feel more empowered, or braver? Which effect is the greater, how does it balance out? It’s impossible to tell, really, since no societies are really same enough through time and culture to compare.

            It’s also worth knowing that criminals plan on not being caught. Which is why harder sentences don’t work to reduce crime. A greater chance of being caught might. People commit their crimes in the society they happen to live in, and crime is motivated by all sorts of things. Poverty and inequality being two.

            “That’s kind of revealing (and a little disturbing). I guess most Americans see it from a personal perspective, e.g. “I didn’t get robbed or have my head kicked in because I drew my gun and will continue to demand my right to protect myself effectively.” In my case I don’t want to be the gun control martyr laying there with a kicked-in head as there would be little consolation in knowing that I was a team player when it came to disarming myself for some abstract greater good that didn’t work out for me in particular very well at all.”

            I think it is revealing. Of course, I’d rather not be the guy, or the brother or friend of the guy, who got shot by a mugger, or foolishly decided to mug someone and then got killed.

            Any way round, a beating and a robbery are much preferable to someone being killed. I’d prefer to be beaten up and robbed, than to kill another person. Even if the killed person was a “bad guy”, which is the sort of cartoon logic that often crops up in arguments like this. Though not the more intelligent sort we get around here, of course.

            Muggers do bad things, but they don’t deserve to die for it. And surely a criminal is more motivated to carry a gun than an average Joe? Killing anyone is a big, big deal.

            “The European perspective seems to be statistically-based “We’ll collectively give up our guns to lower our collective risk of being shot” while hoping for the best in terms of avoiding robbery and assault at the personal level and crossing their fingers that their governments remains trustworthy (an odd hope, considering the region’s history).”

            I don’t think it’s so much statistical as communitarian. And pragmatism over idealism. The USA’s demagogues and soap-boxers have always been keen on the myth of the individual. The heroic self-made man, though there’s nothing of the sort.

            We don’t have a choice in being mugged or burgled, it happens. I’d just prefer it if nobody involved could click a lever to kill somebody. Good or bad, whatever the reason. Again, killing is kindof a big deal to do to someone. It makes big psychological scars on the killer, too.

            “Ultimately what we have here is an insoluble conflict that will most likely just keep swinging back and forth between the various extremes like it’s been doing for the past few millennia”

            Maybe past couple of centuries. There might be progress to be made after everyone’s finished shouting slogans and misrepresenting each other. Again, not counting you there, and hopefully not myself.

            “Same as it ever was…”

            That’s humanity for ya. Always has been!

        1. Can you prove to me that it is ACTUALLY more dangerous to have a gun in a house, and not simply that having a gun in a house allows injuries and fatalities within said house to include said gun?

          Is it somehow different if I commit suicide by shooting myself in the head than if I commit suicide by downing a bottle of sleeping pills or piping automotive exhaust into my own lungs or by tying a belt around my neck and jumping off the balcony?

          Is it somehow different if I cut myself while inspecting a gun than if I cut myself while preparing food?

          If I am accidentally shot with a gun, is this somehow different from if I die of electrocution?

          Speaking of electrocution, actually, that’s something most people bring into their homes for reasons having nothing to do with safety, which actually makes things far more dangerous.

          1. The second half of your sentence didn’t make sense?
   – page 35. 613 deaths due to accidental discharge, 12,632 homicide, 276 ‘undetermined intent’. So suicide is excluded. This gives 0.066% of deaths in that pool that are non-homocides. I guess you could say that if you live in a neighborhood where you’re less than 0.0007 chance of needing a gun then you could say you are probably putting yourself in more danger than you are saving (although really that’s an awful metric). I don’t care to actually data-trawl any further for a comment that doesn’t really matter though. I didn’t know people brought ‘electrocution’ into their house, but the point I was making is that it is ironic to buy something to make you feel safer when in fact it increases your risk of death/injury overall. The theme here is irony, and safety.

          2. Of course there is a correlation. Clearly you don’t understand statistics or probability (or irony), as evidenced by you replying to ‘guns accidents happen’ with ‘well I have never seriously injured myself on one’, and many other comments. That, or you are trying to troll me. So I bid you good day.

          3. Can you give me a statistical breakdown of households, by presence or absence of a firearm in a household, which indicates that households with firearms have a higher incident of accidents or fatalities than households without firearms?

            And because it’s been requested of me multiple times, I’d like links to your original data, as well.

            I am not trying to troll anybody. I’m looking for actual facts, not emotional reactions and deceptive anecdotes pulled out of somebody’s butt.

          4. since asdf isn’t going to bother, I decided to go looking myself. I found a study.


            Now, I see a critical flaw in this study in that it doesn’t indicate whether the presence of a firearm effects overall household fatality rates, only fatality rates involving a firearm, and the use of “homicide” doesn’t seem to indicate whether the person killed was an unwanted guest or not(obviously the fatality rates for breaking into a firearm-owning home are going to be higher than breaking into homes without a firearm), but I did learn some interesting things.

            When compared to houses without a firearm, men are nearly twice as likely to be killed, women are 2.3x as likely to be killed. The odds of committing suicide also jumps significantly.

            Here’s the table of most interest to me, though:

            Now if you’ll note something interesting, and if we assume I’m reading the table correctly, while an individual is about 30x as likely to commit suicide if there’s a firearm in the house, that individual is also half as likely to use that firearm to commit suicide as to use something else.

            Also, in the 15-34 demographic, if you live alone and have a gun in the house, you are actually LESS likely to be killed(1/3 for 15-24, marginal for 25-34), and chances are it’s not going to be with a gun. Likewise for that age demographic among people who live with other people, while the odds of homicide increase, the odds that said homicide is performed with a firearm is significantly less than without.

            Though admittedly, that 2nd and 3rd column are a bit confusing. If I’m reading them wrong, perhaps someone who studies statistics can sort me out?

            Another interesting thing in this table:

            So you’re supposed to keep your guns locked up to keep everyone safe, right? Check the bottom rows on that table. It turns out you’re actually twice as likely to be killed in a homicide if you keep your guns locked up than if you don’t. Also, keeping guns locked up reduces odds of suicide only somewhat. The thing that bothered me about suicide the most is that according to the statistics in an earlier table, most people don’t give any warnings before they decide to off themselves. Also that older people are more likely, though I wonder if population ratios have to do with that.


            According to this table, keeping your guns unlocked reduces the odds of being killed, as does only owning handguns(which are the guns most often used in homicide, by the way), but owning a handgun also increases your odds of suicide, as does keeping them unlocked. Curiously, owning more than one gun reduces one’s odds of suicide. There are several factors I suspect could be involved there.(One that I suspect, that suicidal individuals may purchase a gun to kill themselves with, massively inflating this particular statistic, is specifically mentioned in the article)

            I would also like to see the data separated out by ethnic or economic demographic(in the US, blacks are by far the prime perpetrators and victims of violence, I suspect largely because they tend to occupy lower economic brackets, which can skew data) and population density(Chicago and Los Angeles, for example, tend to be significant outliers regarding violence. Kicking them out typically reduces violence statistics to an alarming degree.) but I will tentatively concede the point that the presence of a gun in a household increases the odds that a fatality will occur in that household.

  32. Coming from the UK, this doesn’t bother me much at all.

    The only people who get fairly easy access to ammunition will already have access to a proper gun due to how the licencing works. I believe that’s the same for most of Europe in that you can’t get ammo without a gun licence.

    Even on a concealed weaponry front if you’re inclined to modify one of these designs to use a shotgun shell as they’re the most common ammo in the UK, you’re not going to spend £6000 on a decent 3d printer when a bit of iron/steel pipe, a couple of springs, a few bits of wood/metal and a nail will have the same effect and be much quicker to make as well.

    To be honest, I’m more impressed with the engineering that’s gone into a making a gun out of plastic considering it’s very much not the correct material to be using.

  33. What amazes me is that it seems a LOT of people are completely unaware of the next industrial revolution: 3D printers. Not unlike the invention of the lathe or mill, we are witnessing a new revolution and many people have NO idea what the ramifications are.

    Like you said: A mill and lathe will make a FAR better gun. And, in essence, they are cheaper to obtain and don’t require a computer to operate. This smells like yet more faux shock.

    1. Easier than what? As has been stated it is far easier to build a gun using traditional methods than using some burgeoning technology with a steep buy in and learning curve. Scrap metal and some very basic tools can be used to make a better weapon, those things are available in your country now so have you seen a rash of home made gun killings lately?

  34. A couple of you addressed the real issue, guns don’t kill people, people kill people. Address the root cause of people killing people first.
    That being said, the caveman killed each other for all sorts of reasons, fire, food, women for breeding, other cavemen for slaves. There isn’t a way to totally address the root cause.
    This technology (3D printers) is great stuff. It will allow man to fabricate many new devices, already saw an article here on HAD about a new super ear.
    It would indeed be a shame to curtail the innovation of man. Without the innovation, we would still be killing others, just using clubs, stones, spears and anything we could pick up to carry. The original “assault weapon” was probably a club.

    1. “The original “assault weapon” was probably a club.”

      I’d go with teeth. And teeth are still a good choice of weapon in some circumstances, working wonders against a lot of currently-popular grappling holds, for example.

          1. @Squirrel: But they put that idiot in charge of a galaxy-wide government. They don’t tell us what sort of crazy laws he passed, nor whose rights and livelihoods he destroyed. Just like IRL.

    2. Instead of printing guns, they should print moulds for guns, pour them out of wax, and then cast some using the lost-wax method. Then you just gotta temper them, and you have high-quality metal parts!

    3. “guns don’t kill people, people kill people. ”
      Or guns don’t kill people, monkeys with guns kill people. ~ izzard.

      What is also true is that guns don’t protect people, people protect people.

      “hat being said, the caveman killed each other for all sorts of reasons, fire, food, women for breeding, other cavemen for slaves. There isn’t a way to totally address the root cause.”

      This is just a Hollywood vision of prehistory and is based on nothing. In archaeology we have no evidence that would support or deny these specific claims you made. Anthropological models show that it each element could go either way so you assumptions are useless as an argument.

        1. “So you’re basically saying that before the gun was invented, nobody killed each other?”
          No, I’m saying you can’t randomly make up shit just to substantiate your point.

          1. What you wrote says to me “Cavemen did not kill each other. Humans are peaceful creatures when they don’t have weapons.”

            If this is not what you meant to say, you should rephrase.

          2. “What you wrote says to me “Cavemen did not kill each other. Humans are peaceful creatures when they don’t have weapons.”
            If you got that from what I wrote, then you are an idiot.

            how does “In archaeology we have no evidence that would support or deny these specific claims you made. ” say to you that humans did in fact do this or that?

            “If this is not what you meant to say, you should rephrase.”

            I’m not going to rephrase a perfectly legible statement just because you are unable or unwilling to grasp the concept presented to you.

          3. ~360 comments, and we have a winner!
            Thanks to Mr. voxnulla here, for ending a nice long run of civil polite discussion with a personal attack (calling some guy on the internet an “idiot”)

            It was a close race, with a few others almost making it (the guy who called someone an “Obama-bot” might have qualified, but some people are proud to be called that).

            Let’s give him a round of applause, and get on with our lives.
            *clap* *clap* *clap*

          4. “This is just a Hollywood vision of prehistory and is based on nothing.”

            You’re implying pretty strongly that cavemen did not kill each other.

  35. None of the concerns are relevant now – but that doesn’t mean they wont be one day.

    Don’t we all hope 3d printing will get better and better?
    Surely we hope that the tech will get as easy as 2D printers?

    Saying “its hard” or “the gun wouldn’t be very good” is dodging the issue rather then addressing it.
    Speaking as someone that both loves the freedom of 3d printing *and* doesn’t want kids,drunks and mentally unstable having push-button gun access, I don’t see any easy answers to whats going to happen over the next decade.

    1. Do you really think kids, drunks and mentally unstable people are going to be able to afford a 3D printer or figure out how to build one? Do they really need a gun to cause harm? I’d worry more about a kid, drunk or mentally unstable person driving on the road with my family and I.

    1. I don’t think Caleb was trolling at all. His post was his opinion, and in my opinion, a matter of fact. Printable guns are going to be low caliber. If they make higher caliber guns, they will require some metal during fabrication to withstand the extra force.

      The real fear most people have is that everyone may now be able to get their hands on a gun. Well, most anyone can already get a gun. I see a dozen 22 caliber guns in the local swap/buy/sell guide right now for $50 and under. These are private sales, no background checks required for personal sales.

      Making laws to stop people from printing guns or gun parts will serve no purpose. Those who you fear will have access to these guns (criminals, terrorists, etc) will have them regardless of laws just like traditional guns they likely already have. To those who claim the issue is that the plastic guns can’t be traced.. Most guns that end up in the wrong hands are typically made untraceable anyways.

      This printable gun argument is about as stupid as the Google Glass “privacy” invasion argument. There is nothing you can do with Google Glass that we can’t already do with cameras or cellphones. I can walk around with my cellphone in my shirt pocket and record my co-workers all day. I don’t need Google Glass. You already have no privacy. :/

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.