Hyperbolic Rhetoric over the 3D Gun

Federal judge blocks US release of 3D-printed gun blueprints


Bob Ferguson, Washington state’s attorney general, released a statement announcing the lawsuit and warning of the potential threat to public safety brought by printable guns. “These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health, or criminal history,” he said. “If the Trump administration won’t keep us safe, we will.” Washington state is joined by Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York, and the District of Columbia.
NRA position: NRA Statement on 3-D Printers and Plastic Firearms


“Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3-D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms. Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years. Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm.”
CATO Institute position: Judge Issues Temporary Restraining Order Against Blueprints for Homemade Muskets


This is a deeply silly order. People have been making guns out of various objects for centuries. Watch this video of someone making a shotgun out of two pieces of commonly available tubing. [video in article] ... 3D-printed guns are little better than those zip guns. The Libertor is a one-shot pistol that, if it works, fires a low-powered bullet with an effective range of maybe 20 feet. More often, it might just explode in your hand.
ATF Position: Does an individual need a license to make a firearm for personal use?
No, a license is not required to make a firearm solely for personal use. However, a license is required to manufacture firearms for sale or distribution. The law prohibits a person from assembling a non–sporting semiautomatic rifle or shotgun from 10 or more imported parts, as well as firearms that cannot be detected by metal detectors or x–ray machines. In addition, the making of an NFA firearm requires a tax payment and advance approval by ATF. [18 U.S.C. 922(o), (p) and (r); 26 U.S.C. 5822; 27 CFR 478.39, 479.62 and 479.105]
My own take: 3D-printed guns might be inevitable. But are they a practical weapon of choice for criminals?
Some 3D print experts said that even if Wilson wins his battle, the plastic gun is, at least at this point, not a practical weapon. “It’s not feasible to print a 100% 3D-printed gun, because the plastic that is being printed that is used here is not strong enough to withstand a barrel or the explosion from a bullet,” said Michael Flynn, who runs a year-old 3D printing business in Fort Worth, Texas. As the latest chapter in America’s battle over gun control unfolds, the use of 3D printing technology for manufacturing reliable firearms is still very much a work-in-progress and a pricey endeavor. Industrial 3D printers cost $20,000 to $100,000, and many companies that rent use of their printers explicitly prohibit users from manufacturing weapons.
See for example (this is legal):

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