3D printed guns are creating quite a bit of controversy in the U.S. Proponents say having access to 3D printed gun parts preserves freedom in the face of regulation, while opponents say it will only make it easier for people to sneak guns into gun-free zones. What about other countries though? What's their take on 3D printed firearms?
A recent report from Al Jazeera UK looked into the matter of 3D printed firearms, and how the easy availability of parts over the Internet may undermine current gun regulation.
This report, much like a previous BBC piece on 3D printing, misses a key fact that was omitted either out of ignorance or in the name of creating a sensational story. Defense Distributed has not made a 3D printed gun. They have made a 3D printed AR lower. Those wanting to build a gun would still need the other heavily regulated parts.
That being said, the central question of the report is still worth asking. How do 3D printers fit into the overall discussion on gun control and regulation? It's especially important in countries where guns are far more regulated.
It would be unfortunate if any of these countries passed knee-jerk reaction legislation banning certain 3D printers over a fear that the technology may one day produce a fully 3D printed gun. It's incredibly short-sighted, and ignores the wide array of benefits that 3D printing brings to the fields of medicine and manufacturing.[h/t: Fabbaloo]