Trying to make 3D-printed guns un-happen is admirable, but futile


What do you do when someone has done something bad and you know there’s nothing you can do to stop them, but you’re in a position of authority and you have to try anyway? You brave humiliation, as the U.S. State Department just did when it told 3D-printed gun designer Defense Distributed to take down its designs.

It’s not that the State Department did anything wrong here – indeed, if I were in the U.S. I’d be alarmed if there was a lack of action on their part. It’s just that, even though Defense Distributed quickly complied, the exercise was utterly pointless. The files are out there, hosted on catch-me-if-you-can services such as Mega and The Pirate Bay, which has a whole “physibles” section devoted to downloadable 3D-printed object designs (a good chunk of which are for weapons parts, by the way).

Stop doing that thing I can’t control!…

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