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Nash Riggins: 3D printers don’t kill people, guns do
August 03, 2018
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America is basically in a perennial state of turmoil nowadays. Personal liberties are constantly being placed under threat, Mexico still hasn’t paid for that beautiful border wall and Jennifer Aniston simply cannot seem to find the right man. We’re in real trouble here, and our partisan lawmakers can’t even agree on a Friday night takeaway, let alone a tangible solution to any of the country’s problems.

But this week, that’s all changed. Americans from all walks of life have at long last united to declare war on the single greatest collective threat our republic has faced in generations, and one of the globe’s biggest killers. We’re talking, of course, about the dastardly 3D printer.

We all know you can 3D-print just about anything now. With the right app, a couple neon-coloured tubes of acrylonitrile butadiene styrene from Amazon and a little patience, you can be looking at your very own car, house, Christmas ornament or functional human liver in a matter of hours. The possibilities are literally endless.

But with great power comes great responsibility, and, as it seems to have only just occurred to the American public: if we can 3D-print a working commercial aircraft engine, we could also create something with even more potential for violence – a simple handgun.

Thankfully, people on opposite sides of the political spectrum agree that the realisation of such a scenario is just not acceptable – which is exactly why, on Tuesday night, a handful of states successfully convinced a US federal judge to block the release of software that would’ve allowed anyone to download blueprints to create their own gun at home.

Why? A whole host of safety concerns have come into play here – chief among them being that security experts wouldn’t be able to figure out if any old granny on the subway was packing heat. Then there’s the whole issue of background checks, and how a 3D printer could give convicted felons easy access to firearms (totally bypassing Walmart’s affordable rifle selection).

God, can you even imagine?

The market would be absolutely flooded with guns. Literally anyone could track down one of these lethal weapons and take it with them anywhere. America would transform into some terrifying, dystopian hellscape where tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children are shot and killed each and every year for absolutely no reason. It wouldn’t be safe to go to school, the cinema, the shopping mall – even church.

That’s why we’re so incredibly lucky our brave judges and lawmakers had the balls to do what’s right and implement reasonable, life-saving restrictions on an archaic civil liberty that threatens our right to life. And hey, now that 3D-printed guns aren’t a problem anymore, we can finally – oh, wait. Does this ban not apply to regular guns, too?

Okay, you probably get the point, so let’s stop beating around the bush.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with state lawmakers and judges teaming up against 3D-printed firearms. Even the biggest, gun-toting Second Amendment junkies seem to think it’s a relatively stupid idea to let disgruntled teenage boys and convicted felons make guns at home using an iPad – and that’s great.

We’re all finally agreeing on one, microscopic detail about gun control (or if you’re a raging Republican and that terminology is scary, let’s call it “technology control”). But the jaw-dropping hypocrisy at play here is almost inconceivable. It’s infuriating. It’s an insult to the human brain’s ability to process rational thought, because just about every argument against 3D-printed guns applies to normal, metal ones.

Worried about plastic firearms flooding the market and making it too easy to get hold of a gun? Too late. There are literally already more guns in America than people.

America’s obsession with firearms and gun control has morphed into some sort of humourless Monty Python sketch. It’s only the beginning of August, and already 8,478 Americans have been shot and killed this year. There’ve been 202 mass shootings in 2018, and 401 American children have been shot in the last seven months.

Do judges, lawmakers and “Average Joes” not think that’s some sort of problem? Can Republicans and Democrats not agree that maybe, just maybe, the hundreds of millions of normal guns in America could be an even greater existential threat than a few hypothetical plastic ones?

Americans need to wake up and do a little soul-searching – and fast. Because believe it or not, 3D printers don’t kill people: guns do, and nothing is going to change that.

The Independent

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