Yahoo has a post from Philip Bump of the Atlantic Wire arguing that legal approaches to stop 3D printed guns from proliferating are unlikely to stop those like Defense Distributed who have pledged to make them a reality. Defense Distributed just released a new update on their progress, a 3D printed lower receiver that can survive 600 shots (the previous 3D printed lower receiver broke after 6). The Atlantic Wire post argues that the technology will move too quickly to be regulated. Seeing Defense Distributed’s rapid progress on partially 3D printed guns, it’s hard not to see the problem with a legislated or regulated approach.
But, using an analogy to music and tv/film piracy, the article suggests that the existing gun industry is a (un)likely powerful ally for those attempting to curb the spread of 3D printed guns and their designs.
So what happens when 3D printing becomes commonplace and it’s possible for anyone to print out ammunition and parts or even a whole gun in the comfort of his own home? As with the VCR and Napster, I suspect the gun industry will do everything in its power to prevent this. It’s a direct threat to these companies’ bottom lines.
Guns debate aside, what I find interesting is the idea that maybe this could become a fight-then-embrace situation, just like digital music. How long before iTunes sells official Glock designs for your 3D printer?