3D Guns: Your Move, State
It’s not about the size of the gun, Fellow Reckoner…it’s about how easily you can download it!
The national debate on gun control underwent a kind of paradigm shift last week when non-profit outfit, Defense Distributed, introduced The Liberator, a fully 3D-printable weapon, to the Internet. Many hailed it as a game changer.
Until that moment, the public discourse had been focused on what the government “should” or “should not” do with regards to regulating citizens’ means of self defense. Then, with the click of a mouse, the conversation shifted from what the government “should” do to what, if anything, it “could” do.
If one could simply print a gun in the privacy of their own home, what, exactly, was anyone going to do about it? The Liberator is a single shot, .22 calibre plastic handgun. To be sure, that’s no match for the kind of heat The State’s goons are packing. But how long would it be before the blueprints for more complex weapons — semi- and/or fully-automatic weapons — become available online? Not long, we’d reckon.
Wasting no time to think, windbag senators with names like “Schumer” bravely donned their chainmail and went about loading bronze-tipped arrows into their bows. Lest we forget: these are people who have dedicated their entire lives to acquiring permanent residence on the front lines of the last battle. And so they stood, lances pointed into the dark, ready for action. Alas, the enemy was nowhere to be seen. Before the senators even thought to look up the term “asymmetrical warfare,” The Liberator’s files were busy zipping across cyberspace at warp speed, finding their way into the digital quivers of users all over the world.
The Liberator was free.
In a frantic attempt to demonstrate its own ignorance as to how the Internet actually works, the US State Department counter-attacked on Thursday, sending a letter to Defense Distributed demanding the removal of the online files which allow users to 3D-print their own, unregistered Liberator at home.
It’s as if they thought the toothpaste could just be pushed right back into the tube. Wrong.
Cody Ross, the brains behind Defense Distributed did, indeed, comply with the Fed’s demands. But by the time the files were removed from his site, over 100,000 people around the planet, in hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of separate jurisdictions, had already downloaded them…and posted them on hundreds more sites. It takes a half-baked chimpanzee about six seconds to find the blueprints online. Granted, that puts them out of the senators’ reach…but that’s hardly the point.
The message from The People was clear: Your move, State.
Of course it is true that, in addition to their intellectual arsenal of rocks and spears, The State, through a combination of brute force and dumb luck, has also managed to acquire a vast and impressive cache of extremely deadly weapons… like Predator drones, Abrams tanks and nuclear-armed atrocities of many and varied descriptions. But what good is a rocket-launcher against a swarm of killer bees? And is that even the point?
As Fellow Reckoners know, we have a soft spot for the underdog…the misfit…the downtrodden. And so, sensing that Defense Distributed will be assuming the “Little Guy” role from here on out, we penned a few unsolicited notes on the company’s behalf…
Dear The State,
Let’s be clear: our 3D gun doesn’t attempt to compete with the big, manly weapons you’re always prattling on about (at least not directly). Rather, it calls into question your claim to be able to control and regulate every aspect of our lives, from whom we form relationships with, to whom we contract with and on what terms, to what substances we put in our own bodies, to how much of our life and property you are entitled to and, yes…to the inanimate objects with which we choose to defend ourselves and our families.
So please, feel free to fixate on the “adequacy” of your own big, strong weapons. The rest of us will be busy downloading ours.