Because the future is frightening.
First, a BBC news video to show you what the fuss is all about:
The Telegraph describes it thus:
Instructions for making The Liberator, a plastic handgun that could escape detection by conventional airport security, were today made freely available to download from the internet by anti-government activists in the US.
It was created by a group in Texas that aims to make “WikiWeapons” that can be reproduced with a home computer and a $1,000 (£644) 3D printer that uses heated plastics instead of ink.
“It’s a demonstration that technology will allow access to things that governments would otherwise say that you shouldn’t have access to,” Cody Wilson, the leader of Defense Distributed, told The Daily Telegraph.
Emphasis added. And that scares statists like Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who’s first, knee-jerk reaction is to ban it:
The Liberator may look like a toy, but “this gun can fire regular bullets,” Schumer said, calling for legislation outlawing the technology’s weapons potential.
The bill was drafted by Rep. Steve Israel (D-L.I.).
“Security checkpoints, background checks and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print their own plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” Israel said in a statement.
To Schumer, the ramifications of make-your-own untraceable and undetectable weapons are “stomach-churning.”
“Now anyone, a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage,” Schumer said. “It must be stopped.”
Apparently Chuck (and Rep. Israel) have never heard of improvised firearms, before, such as the Sten gun, meant to be made in home workshops. And Loyalist militias in Northern Ireland practically made a hobby out of homemade submachine guns. (So did the I.R.A., from what I’m told.)
But it’s not what the terrorist or criminal might do with the weapon that truly scares progressives, though I doubt even Schumer realizes this. Look again at the bolded quote above — Wilson nails it. What truly scares the progressive statist is the loss of control. The ideal, for Schumer and those like him, is the administrative state run by bureaucratic experts who decide what’s best for everyone. Life is too complicated for the “average Joe,” so we need ever more legislation and regulation to keep everyone
safe and prosperous in line. That includes access to firearms, which have advanced beyond anything the writers of that dear, but now obsolete Constitution could imagine.
What frightens them is that it makes their precious regulations powerless. Like I wrote before on this issue:
But now think about the effect on gun control: this (3D priting) is the discontinuous innovation. Statists and gun-banners and those standing on the graves of children can scream as loud as they want for ever more laws controlling firearms, maybe even get them, but, as long as you can download the plans and have access to a printer… All those laws are useless. They’re the modern buggy-whips.
An idea once conceived cannot be un-thought, and technology once discovered cannot be undiscovered. Even the secret of making an atomic bomb is out there, in spite of all our efforts to keep it classified; only the difficulty of obtaining the materials and constructing it have slowed its spread.
But combine 3D printers (which are only going to get smaller, cheaper, and more portable) with easy information distribution — hello, torrent sites! — and, well, Schumer and his
wise, progressive control-freak buddies can write all the laws and regulations they want; it just won’t do any good. People will ignore them.
And that’s what scares the pants off progressives.
PS: I can see one potentially big benefit to the advent of 3D firearms: by showing how useless gun-control regulations are, it might actually spur us to deal with the real problem behind mass shootings, such as at Aurora and Newtown — mental illness and the lousy state of mental health care in the US.
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)