By Allison G. S. Knox
Contributor, EDM Digest
Recently, In Homeland Security published an article, "Soon You Can 3D Print Your Own Gun at Home. No Background Check Needed."
In the wake of the numerous and tragic active shooter incidents, gun control has been at the forefront of public policy concerns. If individuals can now print their own guns rather than going through a background check and making a legal purchase, more guns could potentially fall into the wrong hands.
Unfortunately, making 3D-printed guns at home proves to be one of the many cases of technology making huge advances. But public policy will take a little time to catch up and cope.
Public Policies, Especially on Firearms, Inevitably Subject to Debate
Public policies are ultimately designed to keep society in check, meaning that they're a reflection of the wants and needs of a society. It is one of the many reasons why there are many debates about any public policy issue; there are often many different perspectives on what a society needs.
Active shooter incidents provoke numerous arguments about what to do to prevent them. Some people argue that guns should be more difficult to obtain.
While this argument is certainly valid, another argument is that we need heightened security at places of employment and schools to stop active shooters before they're able to take lives. Gun proponents argue that criminals will get firearms if they really want to, regardless of the laws and policies in place to prevent them from doing so. They advocate arming more civilians as one answer to prevent shootings.
3D-Printed Guns: Policymakers Should Be Proactive, Not Reactive
Some countries are proactive in their public policy approach, but unfortunately, public policies in the United States are often reactive. Lawmakers work to solve problems only after they occur, using hindsight.
As a result, numerous American public policies have not taken technology advances, such as the 3D printing of guns, into account. That laxness makes it difficult to design a public policy in advance that works for society.
Public Policies Should Anticipate that Some Technological Advances Create Illegal Activities
Technological advances have made tremendous strides for society’s betterment. Organ transplants, for example, brought medical science into a new age, giving people with serious illnesses a new chance at life. However, with this technological breakthrough, organs for harvesting and transplantation became a new commodity on the black market.
Of course, public policies do not condone such activities. But the advent of black market organ sales proves that sometimes public policies do not cover every contingency, and criminals will always find a way to do illegal things.
Lawmakers Must Consider Technological Advances Before Creating New Laws and Policies
Technology will continue to advance and criminals will continue to come up with new ways to break the law. Now that anyone with a computer and a 3D printer will have the ability to print 3D guns, it is particularly important for lawmakers to anticipate and consider technological advances when they formulate new laws to prevent active shooter incidents.