Opinion: 3D guns need to be monitored

The wild west of 3D printing guns needs to be monitored and regulated in order to prevent threats to public safety.

3D-printed guns are almost completely made of plastic with the exception of a metal nail that acts as a firing pin and a piece of steel that is solely there so it will set off a metal detector. 

Even so, safety risks still exist as it is possible for 3D-printed guns to be disassembled to get past metal detectors.

The debate concerning 3D-printed guns fired up when 19 states filed lawsuits against Cody Wilson, a Texan who owns a business that creates and distributes blueprints used to make 3D-printed guns.

Wilson, who is no stranger to controversy, navigated around a restraining order placed upon his business to stop distributing files online by selling them on his website and mailing them via USB drives. 

There is no denying Wilson is a morally questionable figure, but his points about censorship and government regulation are worth discussing. 

Wilson says the government is infringing upon Americans’ constitutional rights by banning them from sharing certain information. 

He believes the right to freedom of expression and right to bear arms, protected under the first two amendments, outweigh any concerns about public safety.

Like Wilson, I am uncomfortable with the government regulating what files and information we can share, but I believe 3D-printed guns have the potential to create more harm than good because there are too many ways for them to be abused. 

The untraceable elements of 3D-printed guns are incredibly problematic.

These guns are classified as “ghost guns” as they have no serial number and are virtually untraceable. 

Also, since they consist of plastic which can be melted, 3D-printed guns can easily be destroyed.

People who cannot get guns due to background checks can just order a 3D printer and print their own. 

Most Americans do not own 3D printers, so 3D-printed guns do not seem like an immediate epidemic.

However, as time passes and the technology becomes more accessible and affordable, it is completely possible that 3D-printed guns might become a real problem.