3ders.org is afraid of your freedom. That’s the only way you can interpretthe article they posted called “3D printed gun files are selling for $12 on dark web, new report reveals.” In the article, they warn of the dangers of 3D printing, that people can, gasp, print guns without any record by the government to be able to track who has what guns. That’s right, the writers of a publication dedicated to an industry that creates self-reliance, self-ownership in the form of individual and small scale manufacturing is afraid of your freedom to own the tools that can defend you because those tools aren’t registered with the state.
Well, I have a very different take. The fact that gun plans are being sold on the dark web for $12 on average is not alarming, but encouraging. In the war of ideas between liberty and coercion, the power of demonstated liberty (in this case being to freely manufacture and own an untraceable tool of self defense) will go a long way to help the beneficiaries of that demonstrated liberty come to an acceptance of the ‘dangers’ of true liberty.
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We all know of the benefits that 3D printing technology can offer and the potential that it has to revolutionize manufacturing and even save lives, but less frequently discussed are the inherent dangers. The open-source, accessible nature of the technology means that all kinds of products can be produced by users in the comfort of their own home, even items that would otherwise be strictly regulated or controlled. An alarming (or alarmist, depending on how you look at it) report recently published by controversial research organization Rand Europe and the University of Manchester outlined the potential that exists for people to 3D print their own guns, with designs obtained on the dark web.
…..It found that instructions for making firearms were the second most popular firearms purchase on the dark web, after firearms themselves. Such purchases include instructions for how to make firearms from scratch and how to convert replica guns into real ones, as well as 3D CAD files for printing a gun. The instructions for how to 3D print a gun were available for as little as $12.
According to the study, the ”availability of 3D models for additive manufacturing of parts, components or full firearms has been recognised by the international community as a major source of concern…The proliferation of guidelines and 3D models, in combination with the increased quality of commercially available 3D printers, may result in more untraceable weapons.”
Judith Aldridge, Professor of Criminology at The University of Manchester and a coinvestigator on the research, added: ”In very simple terms, anyone can connect to the dark web and within minutes have access to a variety of vendors offering their products, which are most often illegal. The dark web enables illegal trade at a global level, removing some of the geographical barriers between vendors and buyers. It also increases the personal safety of both buyers and sellers through a series of anonymising features that obscure their identities. This veil of anonymity, combined with the relative ease of access, makes the dark web an attractive option for a wide range of sellers.”