Downloadable and downright dangerous

by Gun Control Network on 05-08-2018

It is a myth that more guns make a society safer.  All reliable international comparisons show a correlation between a country’s gun ownership and its level of gun violence — the more guns there are the more people are killed by guns.  Where public safety is concerned guns are a problem not a solution.  Yet the idea that everyone is safer in an armed society continues to hold sway in the USA, not least with the current administration which has shockingly agreed to permit a further uncontrolled proliferation of guns. 

In a decision as dangerous as it is dumb, the Trump administration has lifted the ban on the distribution of software blueprints that allow the production of guns using 3D-printing technology.  The Justice Department ruled that Americans may ‘access, discuss, use and reproduce’ the technical data.  It is dangerous because it gives a green light to the home production of more lethal weapons, dumb because the weapons would be uncontrollable, untraceable and undetectable by metal detectors.  Who would take advantage — good guy, bad guy, criminal, terrorist?  No one will know.

Just for now an action brought by eight states and the District of Columbia has succeeded in blocking the measure.  A US federal judge has imposed a temporary restraining order.  But were the settlement between the US administration and the group who published the gun blueprints to go ahead, more weapons will be added to an already massive arsenal with an inevitable impact on gun violence. 

The USA’s appetite for guns appears insatiable.  Americans already own an average of one gun per person, an accumulated arsenal which leads to an annual gun death toll of more than 35,000.  And yet a sympathetic administration continues to pander to the gun lobby’s desires.  Allowing 3D-printed guns will make their country even less safe than it is at present, but this time the problem won’t be confined to the USA.  The blueprints could be used anywhere.

In Great Britain tight restrictions on the ownership and use of firearms have ensured that gun crime is comparatively rare — the gun homicide rate is around 100-times lower than the USA’s.  In December 2013 the Home Office added language to its firearms rules to make it clear that it's generally illegal to make, own or sell 3D-printed guns, but these recent developments in the USA may result in attempts to circumvent our firearms laws.  We need reassurance that this won’t happen.

Mick North, Founder Member of the Gun Control Network, says:

We cannot allow the obsessions of American gun owners, with the connivance of their own politicians, to undermine other countries’ desire to keep their citizens safe from guns.  These 3D-printed weapons would be illegal in all circumstances in the UK and we now need the Home Office to state clearly what they are going to do about this real threat to public safety.”