The End of Gun Control: 3D Printed Bullets.

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On Wired.com, we read:

As 3-D printed guns have evolved over the past 18 months from a science-fictional experiment into a subculture, they’ve faced a fundamental limitation: Cheap plastic isn’t the best material to contain an explosive blast. Now an amateur gunsmith has instead found a way to transfer that stress to a component that’s actually made of metal—the ammunition.

Michael Crumling, a 25-year-old machinist from York, Pennsylvania, has developed a round designed specifically to be fired from 3-D printed guns. His ammunition uses a thicker steel shell with a lead bullet inserted an inch inside, deep enough that the shell can contain the explosion of the round’s gunpowder instead of transferring that force to the plastic body or barrel of the gun. Crumling says that allows a home-printed firearm made from even the cheapest materials to be fired again and again without cracking or deformation. And while his design isn’t easily replicated because the rounds must be individually machined for now, it may represent another step towards durable, practical, printed guns—even semi-automatic ones.

We are witnessing the birth of a world revolution before our very eyes. My personal phrase to describe this scenario: “Every man a gunsmith, every house an armory.” I have discussed this before.

Throughout human history, the balance of power between the governors and the governed has been in large part determined by who holds the weapons. Tyrannical governments, like Nazi Germany and the Communist countries, understood this well; they understood that armed citizens are independent citizens. That is why they were keen on banning regular citizens from owning guns. When a totalitarian government wants to control everything and plan out everyone’s lives, independent citizens who can fight back against domination are most inconvenient. When a tyrannical government wants to start abusing citizens, it is far easier to accomplish if guns have been first regulated out of the picture.

Indeed, governments and bureaucratic agencies worldwide are already showing their dismay:

…Law enforcement bodies around the world have responded to the threat of 3-D printed weapons by noting their unreliability. The US Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms released a video last year showing a Liberator, the first 3-D printed weapon created by the libertarian group Defense Distributed, exploding during ATF’s test firing. Australia’s New South Wales police commissioner Andrew Scipione held a press conference last year to warn about the guns’ danger after blowing up a Liberator of its own. “No matter what end of this gun you can be on, you could die,” he warned.

I don’t doubt that these early weapons are probably dangerous to fire. The technology is still in it’s infancy. But even if the weapons were found to be as safe as any other commercial firearm, I am sure government agencies would still find ways to decry to their existence.

This technology presents a fascinating scenario. If we can print guns and ammo in our basements, do you know what that means? No permits. No registration. Complete anonymity. This cuts government and bureaucrats out of picture entirely. This terrifies them. Bureaucrats do not like being cut out of the picture. One of the main tenets of the bureaucratic mentality involves maintaining the status quo and finding new ways to make yourself more relevant. The thought of losing relevancy terrifies bureaucrats, who’s very livelihood relies on cushy tenured positions based on rule-following and butt-kissing, as opposed to innovation and productivity.

3D-printed weapons are still in their infancy. But if history is any indication, we can expect the technology to improve and become less expensive with each passing year. In the meantime, I expect the government to pass numerous laws designed to prevent people from printing their own weapons. We can be sure this effort will be totally futile. All you need to produce a 3D printed weapon is the printer itself, the proper materials, and the digital blueprints. The real hysteria will be directed at banning the propagation of the blueprints. But how easily can the government ban the propagation of digital blueprints across the web? Think about how effective the government’s efforts against music and movie piracy have been, then give me your answer. Hello, bittorrent.

Sometime in the near future, we are going to enter a new era of technological independence. Whether you support the right to bear arms or not, the new era is coming. Politicians and bureaucrats worldwide will be mostly impotent to do anything about it.

 

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