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Old December 10, 2012, 01:09 AM   #1
Tom Servo
Join Date: September 27, 2008
Location: Foothills of the Appalachians
Posts: 12,130
1988 All Over Again - 3D printers

No, I'm not talking about Rick Astley or Perestroika. I'm talking about the Undetectable Firearms Act. The late 1980's were scary times. Full House was in its second season, Miami Vice was really getting stale, and the Austrians were making plastic guns, which as we all know, go right through airport metal detectors without a peep.

(OK, you might have to remove a few parts to do it. OK, you might have to remove almost all the parts to do it, but stop dragging us all down with reality. People are trying to panic, here.)

The ban expired in 1998, but the threat remained, so President Bush signed it back into law in 2003. It's in effect until next year.

That is, unless Representative Steve Israel gets his way. He's an A+ booster for the Brady Campaign, and he's got to do something to prove he's still one of the true believers, so he's trying to demonize 3d printing. At least two folks have made functional (but fragile) AR-15 lowers using the new machinery, and it looks like Israel's trying to work a ban on that into a proposed renewal of the UFA.

This is worth keeping an eye on. With the exception of making NFA items or cloning guns banned from import, the Gun Control Act does not prohibit someone from making their own gun. I expect to see some sort of attempt to generate paranoia about that in the media as the anti-gunners continue to grasp at straws.
Sometimes it’s nice not to destroy the world for a change.
--Randall Munroe
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