There’s been a whole lot of hubbub about 3D printed guns in the past week or so. The thing is that it’s perfectly legal, at least in the United States, to manufacture a firearm for your own use.
What people don’t really realize is that people have been making guns for well over half a millennium. If you look at a company like Beretta, they’ve been around since 1526 and have been making weapons, and parts for weapons since then. The Genie has long since left the bottle. Heck, there’s someone that made a fully working AK-47 out of a shovel.
But this really hinges on the aspect of speech. Code, be it something like Java or C++ or something like gcode, which serves to run things like 3D printers and CNC machines, has been ruled to be speech.
People are worried that the wrong people will get a gun, but the fact of the matter is that we’re a resourceful species that has figured out lots of ways to do damage.
And it always boils down to the fact that while most people are good, there will always be outliers of shitty people. Those shitty people will find a way to hurt people regardless of how they’re doing it.
Walk to the closest drugstore and pick up some drain cleaner for an easy “acid attack” (it’s a base, I know; all chemical attacks seem to get labeled “acid”) Go to the local pool supply and get a bucket of hydrochloric acid (for REAL acid attacks), it’s called “muriatic acid” in this case, but it’s the same thing. An auto parts store can yield a ready supply of sulphuric acid normally intended for lead-acid batteries.
If nothing else, you can always go outside and pick up a big stick or some good throwable rocks. Stepping up your game you can whip up an atlatl and some primitive spears in no time.
And speaking of hardware stores… until they wised up, many gun buyback programs were gamed pretty hard with hardware store zip guns. You spend $20 at Home Depot and do a tiny bit of work and sell that to the city for $200.
Hurting people is shockingly easy. Thankfully, as I said up top, most people are good people. Even most people you disagree with (and they disagree with you) are good people and are unlikely to physically hurt you; the vast majority of people don’t want to hurt you.
Let’s take a deeper look at speech though. The problem things like this, talking about speech here because the original article boils down to speak about how to make firearms, is that some people have tried to redefine speech as a form of violence, which I vehemently disagree with. Personally, I have a very strong feeling about the right to self-defense. But if you couple together “speech is violence” with “self-defense” you have a recipe for disaster.
Unfortunately, that’s the position we’ve been put in. Everyone, and I do me absolutely everyone, should be able to walk around with an “I’m With Her” shirt or a “#MAGA” hat everywhere in this country without fear of a physical altercation. In neither case is the speech harmful in itself, but we’ve gotten to the point where there are places your physical safety is no longer there. But here we are…
That makes me profoundly sad.