3d guns Designs legalized in USA

The Independent newpaper today reports that the Administration is allowing the distribution of the designs of 3D printed guns to go ahead.

This directly relates to my work Liberated, which was shown at Safehouse 2. Indeed the plans are of that very gun. The Independent article explains the events behind the publishing of the build plans for the gun.

It seems that the government decided not to try and enforce their export laws to prohibit the export of controlled intellectual property. While the legal arguments may have been complex around the balancing of First Amendment rights to free speech in written form (software being considered writing) against the laws that prohibit the export of controlled items, it is clear that while these designs were accessible on the dark web they will now be far more accessible.

The consequences of this are yet to be understood. While such guns are very hard to trace they represent a real risk to the user of the gun as much as the person fired at. With the very wide availability of normal guns in the US there may not be that much demand for so risky a weapon. However in other countries where obtaining guns is a serious challenge criminals will be much more encouraged to use the designs.

Ironically the gun manufacturers might not be so enthusiastic as the designs will inevitably be improved upon, reducing the risks to the shooter.