So, can you print a gun? Yep, you can and that’s exactly what somebody with the alias “HaveBlue” did.
To be accurate, HaveBlue didn’t print an entire gun, he printed a “receiver” for an AR-15 (better known as the military’s M16) at a cost of about $30 worth of materials.
The receiver is, in effect, the framework of a gun and holds the barrel and all of the other parts in place. It’s also the part of the gun that is technically, according to US law, the actual gun and carries the serial number.
When the weapon was assembled with the printed receiver HaveBlue reported he fired 200 rounds and it operated perfectly.
The personal computer caused mainframe manufacturers to lose control of computing.
Low cost laser printers caused professional printing establishments to lose control of printing.
The Internet has caused the print and broadcast media to lose control of the distribution of news and other information, something that’s only been accelerated by the advent of social media.
Amazon.com has changed the power structure of publishing. VCRs, then DVDs, then BDs and streaming have changed and are changing the power structure of the distribution of music, movies, and other entertainment.
3D printing has the potential of causing the government to lose control over all sorts of things from guns to pharmaceuticals and beyond.