Push-Button Gunsmithing and the Long Arm of the Law
3D printers can already print crappy guns and soon will be able to print excellent ones. Does this mean the ownership of 3D printers should be regulated as stringently (or non-stringently in the US) as guns? The problem is made confusing, as Cascio points out, by the printers’ potential to self-replicate:
Any 3D printer able to produce a high-quality firearm would almost certainly be able to print out another 3D printer, this time without the restrictions. This is by no means an outrageous or speculative proposition. Among the earliest-available low-cost 3D printers was (and is) the RepRap — the Replicating Rapid-Prototyper (an older term for 3D printer).