Pro Tip: The People Who Print Their Own Guns Aren’t All The Same

Even for people in the gun rights camp, 3D-printed guns can cause a little bit of…hesitation. We want the good guys to have guns, obviously, but when the fentanyl-addicted squatters two doors down have a home-made GLOCK switches and start spraying rounds randomly in the neighborhood, you might start to wonder whether more good people or more bad ones are going to take advantage of it.

Yes, that happened in my neighborhood, but regardless of any discomfort I might’ve felt when the lead was flying, I also know that gun control isn’t the answer. After all, a GLOCK switch is already illegal for most people to possess, and short of repealing the Fourth Amendment and searching everybody’s house every day, nobody’s going to stop that from happening.

You can’t stop the signal, Mal.

But many people don’t think this all the way. Instead of seeing the unstoppable march of technological advancement, some people really do think that the genie can be put back in the bottle. Some might even go so far as to trade away all of their freedom in the vain attempt to do so.

Here’s one example of such a person:

Instead of seeing that technological development is a human instinct and that government isn’t all-powerful, he seems to think the things he fears on the internet are a result of “letting the NRA win.” Whatever that means.

But his inability to understand the fundamental nature of the issue isn’t restricted to the question of whether government can control it. Looking at his blog post about 3D-printed guns, we see several other mistaken assumptions about the people who build guns at home.

Studying extremism can be fun and even instructive. I know, because I took some graduate-level coursework on that very topic. A common rookie mistake when studying violent extremism is to assume that it’s monolithic, or that it’s the same all over like the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey (which itself is a blank widescreen cinema screen, representing the very problem of framing we’re running into here). When we assume that everyone in an extremist movement are all the same, we miss out on opportunities to peacefully engage with them, address some of their very reasonable concerns, and prevent unnecessary violence from occurring to begin with.

Because Stewartson studies extremism by kicking proverbial hornet’s nests, he finds himself confronted only by hornets, and then assumes that everyone 3D printing guns must be a hornet. Scientifically speaking, we call this selection bias, and it’s also a form of the observer effect.

The reality of the 3D-printed gun world is that there are many, many different kinds of people doing it for as many different reasons as there are people involved. Sometimes, there are even fights within the community, because people disagree on things that they find important. Some conservatives were even afraid that the presence of too many transgender people in the 3D gun community might discourage people from getting into it. If that example doesn’t drive home that the community isn’t all “ghost army” and “GoldCorp,” I don’t know what could.

But, I’ll try anyway. We’ve seen copies of the FGC-9 pop up everywhere, including Northern Ireland, Myanmar/Burma, Taiwan, France, and Belgium. In that last case, the “criminal mastermind” was an 18-year-old local girl.

What do all of these people have in common (other than that they printed their guns)? Basically nothing. In Northern Ireland, they’re fighting the British (still). In Burma, they’re fighting a military junta. In Taiwan, they’re concerned about a Chinese communist invasion. From what I’ve heard, the Belgian girl just thought it was fun.

So we can’t really even categorize 3D-printed guns as “extremism” (though the gun control industry will certainly try). Sure, there are people who are arguably extremists who do it. But there are also hobbyists, freedom fighters, patriots (real or fake), and people who are concerned about their families. For some people in the scene, the specter of 3D-printed guns is being raised only to scare the general population and manipulate foreign governments.

But to paint the whole movement one color is flat-out wrong.

6 Responses

  1. How come my comments simply do not appear? Nothing about moderation like what happens sometimes, click the submit button and they simply do not appear. I will post this to see if it appears, but twice since this article appeared I tried to post comments and they simply never appeared.

    1. The website is still pretty buggy. Most links on it still don’t work.

      That being said, if you’re just posting YouTube videos like normal, I’m glad they’re disappearing.

        1. Oh, and it wasn’t a youtube video – it was commenting on that idiots tweet about the NRA and 3D printers pointing out the insanity and ignorance and deliberate disinfo in his tweet.

  2. Typical left wing mental illness ignorance of reality and false. Im pretty sure the NRA had nothing to do with creation of 3D printers or people using technology like they always have good or bad.

    More ‘disinfo’ from an idiot that claims to be a self appointed ‘disinfo activist’

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