Have you heard of 3D printing? Well, it could be the future of almost everything.
Basically, engineers have managed to take the concept of two-dimensional printing, in which ink is vertically layered on horizontal paper, to the next level. A computer design enables a printer to weave together plastic polymers from the bottom up to create any object you could possibly want.
Give that ability to the human race and leave it to us to mess it up: it was only a matter of time before we found out (a la the Vice documentary) that 3D printing was obviously being used to create illegal guns and drugs.
So Senator Chuck Schumer proposed a bill (entitled the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act) yesterday that would essentially ban all 3D printing of guns. His argument focused on the potential this method held for society.
Apparently last week, a fully operational handgun was made through the high-tech method, leaving the feds worried about what this could mean for detection of illegal arms trade. Keep in mind that these guns are completely plastic; the component makes the weapons unreadable by metal detectors.
As Schumer pointed out, the “only metal part of the gun is the little firing pin and that is too small to be detected by metal detectors, for instance, when you go through an airport.”
As a result, we have in front of us the potential for an entirely new black market where production can come from everywhere and anywhere. “A terrorist, someone who’s mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon can essentially open a gun factory in their garage,” Schumer said.
With that being said, the bill should face little opposition in Congress. And it’ll probably be the first of many instances where this weird vortex of law enforcement, technology and manufacturing comes into play.
But, besides all of that, 3D printing is still really, really cool.