Home Innovation Policymakers Must Anticipate The Inevitable 3D-Printed Guns

Policymakers Must Anticipate The Inevitable 3D-Printed Guns


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.

Allison G. S. Knox Passionate about the issues affecting ambulances and disaster management, Allison focuses on Emergency Management and Emergency Medical Services policy. Allison has taught at the undergraduate level since 2010. Prior to teaching, she worked in a level-one trauma center emergency department and for a member of Congress in Washington, D.C. She holds four master’s degrees in Emergency Management, National Security Studies, International Relations, and History; a Graduate Certificate in Homeland Security; and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. Allison is an Emergency Medical Technician, Lifeguard, and Lifeguard Instructor, and is trained in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue. She serves on the Board of Trustees for Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society as Chancellor of the Southeast Region, Vice Chair of the Tactical Emergency Medical Support Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and serves as the Advocacy Coordinator of Virginia with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She is also a member of several committees including the Editorial Committee with APCO, the Rescue Task Force Committee with the International Public Safety Association, and the Advocacy Committee with the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. She also serves as Chair of the Leadership Development Program for the 2020 Pi Gamma Mu Triennial Convention. Allison has published several book reviews and continues to write about issues affecting ambulances, emergency management, and homeland security.