3D-printed guns should be illegal


Photo Credit: Wikipedia

New developments this Summer have made 3d-printed guns closer to being accessed by the public. This is the most famous model of the 3d-printed guns, “The Liberator.”

by Isis Kirkland, Copy Editor

3D printed guns are getting closer and closer to being open to the public. This summer, the State Department allowed Defense Distributed to release the blueprints for 3D printer guns online.

Defense Distributed is a online organization ran by Cody Wilson, that develops digital weapon plans and blueprints, meant to be 3D printed.

A 3D printed gun is exactly what it sounds like, a gun made by a 3D printer. Anyone with internet access can download the blueprints to the parts of a gun, print them in their 3D printer, and assemble the parts. While this may sound (and look) like more of a Fisher Price Toy than a threat, when assembled, they function like a regular gun and shoot rounds.

The main model being promoted, called “The Liberator,” costs $25 to print. The suggested cost of the blueprints are $10, but the plans are really on a “name your cost” system. Those inquiring about the blueprints for the gun can name what price they are going to pay, if they find the $10 to be too steep.

Letting these 3D printed guns and blueprints continue to progress is a big mistake. They need to be shut down while the idea is still relatively new (the idea has been circulating since 2013). 3D printed guns are a big threat to public safety, especially because using a 3D printed gun is essentially the perfect weapon to commit the perfect crime.

The biggest problem I have with the blueprints is how easily accessible they are. The blueprints are cheap, anyone with at least $10 can buy them. Also, because they are online, anyone can get to them, and nowadays everyone has access to the internet and a computer. In addition to this, because the guns are “do it yourself,” you don’t need a background check to get one. This gives any random person the open capability of having a gun. This type of access cannot get out, as this would basically hand everyone in America a gun, which would have a cataclysmic outcome.

Another reason why I think these guns are dangerous, and are too capable of committing the perfect crime, is the actual mechanics of the gun itself. The gun is homemade, so it has no serial number which makes it practically untraceable. Police wouldn’t even know where to start looking if a crime was committed with one of these 3D printed guns, because without a serial number there is no evidence of the weapon. Another reason why they might not have evidence is because a criminal could easily melt the plastic gun and rid himself of any trail altogether. This is a terrifying thought, and I think this would be the reality of things if these guns aren’t banned.

Some may think that my worries are far fetched, saying that 3D printers aren’t common in households. This is true, as they are pricey. According to 3D Insider, “the average consumer 3D printer costs around $700. The cheapest 3D printers start at around $200. High end consumer 3D printers can cost several thousand dollars.” To successfully print out this gun I’m assuming that you’d probably need the printer on the higher end of the spectrum, which would cost a few thousand dollars.

However, they don’t necessarily need to be in the household. Our high school has a 3D printer accessible by students. Any student could easily pay for and download the plans, then sneakily print the parts out and assemble them at home. This student could then plan an attack against the school, or somewhere else, using their new gun. While this would be a lengthier process than just getting a real gun elsewhere by other means, it is still a possibility. This chance is one we cannot afford to take, we can’t put students lives in danger. 

Luckily, 19 states including New Jersey have filed lawsuits to block the access of the guns blueprints. I’m hoping that New Jersey wins its lawsuit, so it’s nearly impossible for anyone here to get the blueprints, and add onto the mount of guns ready to doom us all.