I’ve been mulling over this What-if since the recent change to the law in the US.
When we’ve discussed the topic on the Dope before, it’s mostly been people scoffing at how shit current printed guns are, and pointing out that it’s always been possible to Macgiver a sort-of gun: you just need a paperclip, a rubber band and some chewing gum.
So for this hypothetical let’s just start with the premise that you can print a reusable, powerful and accurate firearm that can take a clip / magazine / whatever, and is far superior in quality to anything you could make sans workshop + expertise.
What happens next?
My own feeling is that in the US, there’s little change. Gun manufacturers won’t like people being able to obtain guns for essentially free, and obviously proponents of gun control won’t like them, so eventually printing a gun without the proper permission to do so becomes a severely-punished crime, a bit like photocopying paper currency. Few people bother compared with other means of obtaining weapons.
Outside the US though I think it will make a difference, as the fabled “Bad guys will have guns no matter what” actually starts to become true in countries that right now have good gun control. Guns might become more common worldwide