3D Printed Guns put you at Risk

3D printed guns are a paradox for freedom of speech and the general safety of the public.

In 2013 Defense Distributed, an online organization that creates digital firearm models, created the first 3D printed gun. Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, named the gun the Liberator. It is made of primarily ABS plastic (the kind that legos are made of) and one steel nail to function as the firing pin.

The only thing he needed to make the physical gun was the blueprints and a 3D printer.

After completing the gun Wilson published his blueprint online for anyone to download and create with a 3D printer.

However, On Aug. 27, 2018, after a years-long battle between the federal government and Defense Distributed, a court order banned Wilson from giving away his plans for the gun online for free. So instead, he’s selling the blueprints to anyone who wants them. Wilson claims that not being allowed to share ideas on the internet for everyone is a violation of his right to free speech.

“Anyone who wants these files is going to get them. I’m gonna sell it to them, I’m gonna ship them. That began this morning, That will never be interrupted. The free exchange of these ideas will never be interrupted,” Wilson said after the court ruling.

But does he have the RIGHT to free speech in this case?

Let us take this classic example: A person can not yell “fire” in a movie theater when there is no fire. This limitation of free speech is in place to protect the general public from harm.

It should be obvious that letting any person on the internet have access to a gun puts the general public in harm. So should Wilson’s free speech not be encroached upon?

Not only would the free blueprints put the public in harm’s way, it also violates the Undetectable Firearms Act which “prohibits the manufacture, importation, sale, shipment, delivery, possession, transfer, or receipt of any receiver for a rifle or handgun, or of any ammunition magazine, that: (1) is manufactured by a person who is not a licensed manufacturer; (2) is not as detectable as the Receiver Security Exemplar or the Magazine Security Exemplar by walk-through metal detectors.” Wilson’s free publication breaks this law in two ways; he is not a licensed manufacturer and his gun is undetectable by metal detectors when the firing pin is taken out and momentarily stashed somewhere else.

The idea of anyone having access to a 3D printed gun is scary. The firearms are virtually untraceable and no background checks are needed to get one. Even worse, although the guns are made of plastic, they are capable of firing standard handgun rounds.

Putting these blueprints on the internet, for free or not, is a danger to society. Background checks exist for a reason, to keep guns out of the wrong people’s hand. 3D printed guns put them into anyone’s hands.

Any sensible person would agree that the lives of many are more important than the free speech of one.

1 Comment

  1. David Sullivan

    September 23, 2018 at 6:06 am

    One thing this article is forgetting is that the internet is a big and scary place filled with legal sites, illegal sites, public places, and private places. Trying to stop the spread of a file, a series of 1s and 0s that can be shared at light speed is like trying to stop the spread of an idea. This doesn’t mean that somebody should profit off of these files, but they will always be able to spread.

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