Sunday, February 17, 2013

3-D printers at home and untraceable "wiki" weapons: a new challenge to "government"?


CNN and NBC have recently reported about the upcoming availability of “wiki weapons”: handguns “printed” out of plastic from 3-D printers.  They could be untraceable and confound laws requiring gun purchasers to have background checks in all cases.
  
The most recent NBC story is about two months old, here (in the "Future Tech" series). 

NBC had also reported that a printing company had cancelled a contract with a manufacturer when it learned that the customer wanted to use the printing apparatus for weapons manufacture.
  
3-D printers capable of this kind of activity are expensive, but still within the reach of small businesses and better-off homeowners, particularly in isolated areas.  They could fit into “Doomsday Prepper” mentality.
    
They also raise a question about the autonomy and “power” of individual consumers, able to create asymmetry with seemingly ordinary purchases of hardware that itself cannot be regulated.
  
Alex Jones (who is indeed controversial, given what happened when he appeared on Piers Morgan) has  a 20-minute YouTube film on the issue, from January.  He calls this a “game changer”. 


I bought my own first laser printer from Sears in Dallas for about $2200, an HP.  Prices would indeed fall in time.
   
I recall an incident, when I was driving out to Minneapolis to move there Labor Day weekend of 1997, when a cop stopped me for speeding on a street in a Chicago suburb Monday morning. He made a comment, “you don’t have any drugs or weapons do you?” (after all, this was Chicago), but when he saw the box of printed copies of my first “Do Ask Do Tell”, he decided I was a “good guy without a gun” and let me go without a ticket.    

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