The fine bloggers over at Popehat recently posted a very interesting argument about laws changing in response to technological change. In particular, after a long introduction about slavery and the cotton gin, they talk about how gun control is becoming pointless thanks to the internet and 3D printers:

There’s one step missing: proof that the average man on the street can actually use cheap CNC tools to build firearms.

Even with out a first amendment, samizdat would ensure that the data would be out there…but given that the legislature and the executive do have to respect our right to speak (even if it has to be reminded somewhat rudely by the courts and the people from time to time), it’s relatively easy to find folks to talk to about home CNC production of firearms.

And remember that thing about information wanting to be free? In our glorious jetcar-free, but peer-to-peer-laden future, collecting and swapping is no longer just for baseball cards; it’s also for plastic printing your own AR-15 magazines and lower receivers.

My only comment is to add that the lower receiver of an AR-15 is what is considered to be the “gun” part of the gun (and is therefore serial numbered and controlled) and is also what determines whether the AR-15 is semi-auto or full-auto. Since 1986, it has been illegal for a civilian to own any full-auto weapon not registered as such before 1986. As an anecdote, I recently saw someone trying to sell a pre-1986 M16 for $18,000, where that gun, semi-auto, brand new today (i.e. of higher quality) would run for $1,000.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are samizdat plans for full-auto AR15 receivers floating around on the internet.

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