A read of the news the last week and you would think the streets were running with red tinged plastic.
3D printers have been the target of authoritarian bansturbators in Australia for some time now, but it appears just recently the narrative has stepped into overdrive.
Just a coincidence, we assure you.
Then in NSW a gentleman by the name of Sicen Sun is facing jail for 14 years for 3D printing completely non-functioning firearms. This is while Mick Gatto walks from court with a $2,500 fine for possessing an illegal firearm for self-defence and Constable Ian Flanagan gets a $1,500 fine for pulling his firearm out on a speeding motorist. Consistency indeed.
The ABC article was punctuated by this doozy:
“Samantha Lee from Gun Control Australia said 3D printers cost between $500,000 and $1 million and the plastic produced was still fairly fragile. She said Australia still did not have high-level 3D metal printers, but her organisation remained concerned about replica, or imitation guns. Imitation firearms are pretty easily available across Australia and it’s much easier to buy an imitation or what’s known as a toy-like firearm in Australia. It’s a lot of work to produce a 3D firearm,” she said.
As usual, Gun Control Australia drop hints at what invented crisis they’re planning next and it looks like imitation firearms. The laws surrounding these vary from state to state.
And about the alleged price of 3D printers, well a quick Google search:
If you’re spending $500K+ on a 3D printer to begin with, chances are you’re not going to have a problem procuring whatever firearms you want. Why would you go to the expense of printing sub-par material when that kind of money would buy you a small arsenal, legally or illegally? Or a CNC? It’s that kind of comment that shows you that there’s more at play here.
And that Sam Lee should never give up her Legal Aid gig to pay the bills.
The Sicen Sun example also rams the point home to those calling for mandatory sentencing laws for firearms offences, of just how much damage it can do to someone’s life for a weak or wrongful infringement. Sure, what Sicen did was completely irresponsible and his own doing but from where I sit it’s a totally unnecessary punishment for a non-functioning, poorly built firearm. Meanwhile, 220 Glocks were imported through the post and most were never recovered. But that’s the border and that’s in the too hard basket.
Which brings us to the next point: Why would criminals bother with this primitive form of tech when they know the odds are in their favour with Australia’s porous borders? This is recently evidenced by the claim from Queensland Police that 70% of illegal firearms seized are coming in through the international mail. Now, they like to inflate these numbers because “firearm parts” is a broad definition, but if we take that as gospel then the question remains – how much got through that you did not know about? The AFP even admitted at the recent Senate Inquiry that it had no idea.
The reality of 3D printed firearms at the moment is that only the lower receiver and a few other related parts on a select few firearms can be printed. There’s the small problem that you still have about 85% of the firearm left to build. Sort of important things, you know like the barrel, the bolt, trigger assembly, etc? The pressure released from ammunition alone is enough to explode any 3D printed firearm.
Even this from Fairfax who jumped into the fray this week:
“His (Wilson) site provides instructions on how to make parts for the Liberator pistol, which was tested by NSW Police firearms experts in 2013. As police fired the gun, it cracked open.
So even the Police admit it’s not worth the fuss. It continues:
“And if industrial 3D printers were to get into illicit hands they could also pose a threat. If 3D printers are set to become a part of our lives then there will be tension between the freedom to print the objects we desire and the ease with which this will be possible, affordable and legally permissible,” Dr Birtchnell said.”
Right on cue, the “someone might do something bad with them so we need to ban it for everyone.” That’s also known as collective punishment which is a staple concept of many fascist governments. It’s become the de facto starting point for anything unliked by bureaucrats in Australia.
Some argue that because the tech isn’t that advanced yet that we have to ban it now. If and when technology has reached that stage of development you won’t be able to stop it, at all. So what happens when we get to a stage where 3D printers are printing 3D printers? Ban that as well?
The 3D printing narrative is a beat up and a contrived reason for more laws.
I think Sam Lee should be upset when you can 3D print two ammunitions or more.