Op-Ed: 3D printed guns have no place in society

By Lauren Attwell ‘22



Gun control: almost everybody has an opinion on it, informed or not. Whatever your personal opinion might be, a new type of firearm is emerging and inevitably will be more dangerous than others.

The 3D printer is an increasingly widely-used invention, and now it can print fatal firearms. The 3D gun design was going to be released to the public in a court ruling in July, but this action was blocked after multiple states, filed lawsuits. Defense Distributed, the company pioneering 3D guns, originally created the “Liberator,” a single shot handgun, in 2013. The Liberator was released after Cody Wilson, the leader of the organization, posted anarchist videos on Youtube and said the government should fear its citizens.

Obviously, this firearm design was created with dangerous intentions and would not be used for anything safe or constructive. 3D gun designs would be free to download, and anyone with an internet connection would have access to them. These new weapons are almost completely plastic and only set off security alarms because of the federally required steel nail under the Undetectable Firearms Act.

According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 272 mass shootings in 2018, one of which is the February Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida. The gunman, Nikolas Cruz, obtained his weapon legally, even though he was previously deemed mentally unstable and admitted into a mental facility. Many similar cases exist, and even if an individual cannot legally obtain a firearm, guns would be easier to access than ever with 3D printing.

Why should 3D printed guns be allowed if laws cannot regulate them? The government can’t force security cameras into any citizen’s home to see if they’re making their own guns, nor can they implement gun control laws onto 3D printed guns without slip-ups. This is without mentioning the liabilities companies like HP Inc., Protolabs, 3D Systems, and other 3D printer producers will face.

The term “ghost gun” is exactly what these new weapons are: untraceable and invisible to the government eye. Terrorists, felons, and abusers can have access to these weapons, and if a crime is committed, the gun cannot be traced to the perpetrator. The number of loose criminals will soar with 3D printed guns in the mix. Having firearms available to the public is dangerous enough. 3D printed guns are unnecessary and only induce panic and fear. They should never be allowed to be owned, and scrupulous restrictions should be placed upon these guns.

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