Should We Ban Plastic Guns?

The House is set to vote on a bill tomorrow that would renew a ban on “undetectable” weapons. New 3D printing technology has enabled people to “print” plastic guns, which won’t be found by a metal detector or an X-ray. Fox News reported:

The House is expected to vote this week on renewing a 25-year-old law that bans the production of undetectable guns, in an age when new technology could open the door to at-home production of plastic weapons. The law itself is set to expire on Dec. 9, and lawmakers are divided on whether to renew it. The Undetectable Firearms Act, which was first enacted in 1988 and reauthorized in 2003, makes it illegal to “manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer or receive” any firearm that’s undetectable by metal detectors and X-ray machines.

People’s concern is that someone could download a copy of the schematics to create a gun with plastic parts and then commit a crime with it at their local “gun-free zone.” Plastic gun carriers would be able to get through security, as long as there’s no pat down. I know I’m beating a dead horse by saying this, but you don’t need a plastic gun to try to kill people in a gun-free zone. Just ask James Holmes and Aaron Alexis, the Navy Yard shooter.

But this isn’t about protecting the children. The only reason they still allow regular metal guns to exist is that they can at least track and detect them. They don’t like surprises or things kept secret from them. They’ll even arrest you if you dare have an empty, secret compartment in your car. (In Ohio anyway.) No secrets allowed. That’s why they don’t like the idea of people being able to manufacture their own undetectable firearms. It’s the same reason the government doesn’t like people making financial transactions in cash. They don’t have any control over it.

And it’s not like these 3D printers are making guns with AR-15 capabilities. You’re not going see someone going in a theater and trying to shoot a bunch of movie-goers with a plastic gun.

The Washington Post reported that in one test conducted by the ATF, “officials fired eight rounds from the Liberator [a 3D-printed plastic gun]. Other tests and simulations showed that the weapon was capable of firing with enough power to injure vital organs.” That is, if it doesn’t explode in your face.

Our current do-nothing Congress may not be doing a whole lot, but something they know how to do well is ban things. And place restrictions on things. They’ll do anything if it involves controlling any aspect of people’s lives.

I see 3D-printed guns as sort of a last resort in case regular guns are outlawed in a person’s particular locale or even nationally. In a gun confiscation doomsday scenario, that cheap and undetectable plastic gun might save your life.

No, I don’t think we should ban plastic guns. I hope the House lets this law expire.