What's at stake in the fight over printing files for guns

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/08/07/hard-cases-bad-law.html


so let’s see, hateful but non-physical destructive people should be banned from the internet like facebook

but physically dangerous guns with only one purpose to destroy things should be protected at all costs

I think my solution is to only allow them to be put on facebook? then people would call for them to be banned and facebook would comply?

gotta get rid of the duplicity or no-one will take progressives seriously

If you’re talking about Alex Jones, fuck yes. Calling him non-physically-destructive is foolish. The man has ruined lives.


well okay then but now do you feel he and his followers should have the right to print plastic guns that shoot real bullets?

can’t think of a better example of a group of people who should not have the right to print those guns

Should they theoretically have the right to? Absolutely. Especially since I will take great joy in hearing about all of the InfoWars fans printing shitty plastic guns at home that blow up in their faces.


like everything else, the 2nd and 3rd gen versions will probably work quite well and then what?

you know that video people are applauding around here of someone physically assaulting and knocking out someone wearing a nazi armband because “they were asking for it and picking fights” - what if the vigilante now can print an untraceable undetectable gun - what if the nazi can?

where does this end? because it obviously doesn’t end well, look at who is the freakin’ president that everyone said “can’t happen”

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If you want a more proper analogy, a specific site that deals in files for 3D printing and CAD design doesn’t have to allow designs for certain items, i.e. Guns. That doesn’t mean that Defense Distributed or other entities shouldn’t have the right to post said files if they want on their own sites.

Just like Alex Jones can still run Infowars and post his own shit on his own site, but youtube doesn’t have to deal with it any more.

Just like if a person who asks you to cook their steak well done has that right to that opinion, but you can also politely, but firmly ask them to leave.


When your personal identity is completely wrapped up and inseparable from guns, well you’re a fucking hot mess, please seek help ASAP.


As has been pointed out here ad nauseum, ‘plastic 3d printed guns’ still need metal components to fire. They aren’t undetectable.

I am vehemently not a fan of guns. I actively loathe them. There’s ways to handle the situation over printing of 3D components to assemble firearms that are more intelligent than what’s being jammed through right now.


what I simply want is the statement by the people through the government that we don’t want this, we don’t want guns for the sake of guns as toys or as something people want to pretend makes them safer by some fantasy

I realize that like everything else the law will be ignored, worked around, broken - but let’s at least say as a civilization this is not what we want as a society, it doesn’t move us forward, it only empowers the crazy, the hateful, the ones that want to destroy and not make things better

before we can have progress we have to first say we want progress

This whole 3D printed gun debate is really overshadowing a much more sinister and pernicious problem. With nothing more than a drill press you can put together an unregistered AR15 at home.


Repeating firearms are a mid nineteenth century technology. There’s no stuffing this genie back in the bottle.

A metal-working hobbyist with a 50 year old Bridgeport and a lathe in his garage is capable of making extremely professional copies of weapons.

For that matter, Filipino gunsmiths and other artisans working in the Khyber Pass have been making working knockoffs of weapons for 150 years with little more than a forge, hammers and files.

It is completely legal under Federal law in the US to make a non-serialized firearm for personal use.

In point of fact, serial numbers on firearms in the US weren’t required until after the GCA of 1968. There are millions of utility grade shotguns, and rifles in circulation that have no serial number and are completely legal to own.

Whether that’s a good thing is another debate. But trying to control the spread of information is bound to be a failure and in this instance already is.


You’ve badly misunderstood what’s going on here.

If Facebook wants to remove Alex Jones, that’s OK with me.

If someone (including a government official) goes to court and make a case to get an injunction against Alex Jones, that’s probably OK with me too (depending on the legal theory behind the injunction).

If the government announces that it can order Facebook to censor Alex Jones because it has always had this power and moreover can order any online service to censor anything, without any objective standards, judicial oversight or due process…that’s not OK.


Wasn’t there a much earlier test case on export restrictions on information regarding cryptography? Can that be applied here?

…it’s all price, no benefit, because none of these measures will have any impact on the availability of guns – 3D printed or otherwise.

I would hope that logic can be appreciated by people on all sides of the debate. I’m not confident, but hopeful.


One thing that doesn’t get enough attention is that Wilson doesn’t just oppose gun laws in America; he wants to overturn gun laws everywhere in the World.

He doesn’t think those of us who like living in countries where guns are rare should be able to stop those who want them. And that is scary when we know 3D printing will only get faster and better.

I don’t know how we stop a catastrophe brought about by gun nuts.


Which has been around for decades. As Cory pointed out in his opinion piece, this method is more expensive and time consuming that just buying new milled and anodized lower for $35-50. And as he pointed out, most people who want a gun illegally can get one via the black market or straw purchases. Add this to the fact most years more people are beaten to death than shot to death with rifles, I wouldn’t really consider this a “…much more sinister and pernicious problem”.

I suppose one could push for laws against making your own weapons at home, but I don’t believe there is evidence this is actually a problem. These hobbyist aren’t the ones generally committing murder.

Also of note, Canada had a long gun registry and nixed it in 2012 because they are so rarely used in crime and the cost of maintaining the registry wasn’t deemed worth it. Though they still have a handgun registry.


I just want to know who the idiot is who decided to call it a “3d printed gun” instead of “samizgat”.


My understanding of this is that the 3D file is for one part of the AR-15, not the whole thing. To my knowledge, there’s not currently a 3D technology that can construct a chamber and barrel strong enough (or accurate enough) to withstand the 62,000 psi pressure of a fired .223 bullet. But the components in question comprise the lower receiver, the components that confer automatic operation (gun repeats firing as long as the trigger is held down) on a semi-auto (gun fires once for each trigger pull). Fit that onto an AR-15 you buy at a store or a show, and you’re ready to chew through serious amounts of expensive ammo.


Just to clarify, those parts would have to be made out of metal and doing that is highly illegal. Though occasionally you will find stories of machinists either making these parts or someone attempting to get a machinist to make them.

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But the government does have this power with certain kinds of data. I know possessing or distributing child porn is illegal in the US, right? So why doesn’t the government have the right to make other kinds of data equally radioactive?