Recent events in the U.S. have caused increased tensions over gun control. Some people want stricter controls on firearms or even a total ban on firearms. Others are wanting to prevent any further regulations on firearms. We will explore how technology may effect this highly debated topic.
Technology has the potential to provide a way of creating illegal and potentially dangerous weapons very quickly. My previous article the dark side of 3D printing discusses how 3D printers and scanners can be used to replicate nearly any object including illegal firearms. While producing firearms using a metal 3D printer is likely more expensive than the original, the printer could potentially be used to create a cast for making the components.
There are a few important things to keep in mind. 3D printers are become more and more affordable each year while the accuracy and quality continue to increase. Firearms that are incorrectly printed or incorrectly assembled could misfire and potentially result in accidental deaths.
As this technology becomes more widely available compromises between the different sides of the issue will need to be made in order to prevent potential issues. For example, if an all out ban were to be placed on firearms sales then people may begin to look for other options to produce their own firearms similar to what happened during the prohibition era with alcohol. On the other hand if no additional firearm regulations are put in place we may see a significant problem emerge with production of illegal weapons using 3D printing technology.
There could be further complications because 3D printers can create very realistic looking replicas. Although the replicas may not be a functioning firearms, they could result in unfortunate situations such a person being mistaken for carrying a real firearm by police or other citizens.
If you are interested in learning more about 3D printing please check out my previous articles on 3D printing technology and the dark side of 3D printing. Keep in mind that 3D printing can be a very useful and interesting new technology when used responsibly. Check out some of the vendors that are currently participating in the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show. Sculpteo, Cubify, and 3D Printing Systems. Don't forget to subscribe for the latest in tech news and to keep alert of the most recently developments at the 2013 CES show which continues to run until Jan. 11th.