Friday, August 3, 2018

Cue the hysteria! -- Edit

OK, I'm actually a few days late with the "Cue the hysteria!" title, still...

You may be aware that the US Government has lifted the restriction on the sharing online of files with instructions to 3D print firearms components.

This, of course, is merely the latest in a series of events which are going to kill us all.

The thing is...

There are many inherent issues with manufacturing a firearm, or firearm parts, using a 3D printer. For instance, the plastic used isn't exactly up to withstanding the pressures of a modern firearm cartridge being fired, which limits which parts of the firearm they are suitable for. In order for the firing pin to detonate the primer on a cartridge, it has to be made of metal, or possibly, I suppose, some other hard material, which would probably be so exotic as to be impractical.


A fact which escapes those convinced that the availability of these files online mean the end of civilization is that it has always been legal to manufacture a firearm in your garage workshop, as long as you did not attempt to sell it.

Here, for example, is a thread about building a glorious revolutionary AK47 from a people's shovel, purchased for a whole 2 kopeks I mean rubles I mean capitalist pig dollars at an antique barn in Vermont: DIY: Shovel AK - photo tsunami warning! | Forums

So, why (one might ask) was the distribution of files with instructions on how to 3D print firearms components banned? Well, the US State Department takes its responsibility (not to say authority) to control export of firearms and weapons technology seriously.

Now, this authority does extend to some information technology, namely, computer security/anti-virus files. (In an earlier job I had to help some sales reps for a local aviation firm process requests to Uncle Sam to let them take their laptops, with anti-virus software installed, overseas.)

But these are 3D printer files are hardly innovative in and of themselves, and cannot be seriously be considered a threat to national security.

What made the US State Department lift the ban on Internet distribution of 3D printer files is that the US State Department does not have a broad legal authority to ban the distribution of information.

That's right: The ability to download these files is a First Amendment issue, as well as a Second Amendment one. (Some would even argue that it is not a Second Amendment one at all.)

Elsewhere, Roberta X addresses the issue in her post The Adventures of Roberta X: That's Not How This Works.

There is also an excellent Twitter thread that starts with this one:
(There is a Thread Reader version of the full thread here: Thread by @CorrelA_B: "Ok, on this, the eve of one of my favorite things ever - the of technology - let's have a serious, sober-ish conversation a […]" #democratization #StopDownloadableGuns #Stop3DPrintedGuns #guncontrol

EDIT: Meanwhile, a commie judge here in Western Washington has ordered Defense Distributed to shut down their site again: DEFCAD

Fortunately, the files are available elsewhere:

No comments: