Like a soldier using stealth techniques, the future has a way of creeping up on you, and before you know it you’re staring down the barrel of its gun. I realized this weekend that the future of weaponry was upon us and no one had even seen it sneak up.
The Plasma Cutter from the video game Dead Space has been built by a hobbyist. He will not share how he built it, but he will sell you a complete model of your own. Now this it's not as powerful as the gadget from the game, but it works. You can use it to burn holes in things, and with a little more power, you have a useful weapon in your hands. It’s only a matter of time before someone reverse engineers this and makes the how-to available for anyone who wants to build one of these.
So that's a glorified toy, and we've seen things like it before. When it comes to real weaponry, however, footage of the first completely 3D Printed handgun, The Liberator, has been released. More importantly, the files for hobbyists to print their own have been released, too. This may be the first time the ability to create weaponry this powerful has been available to the masses.
While, the creator of The Liberator acknowledges people may use the technology for evil, he feels we gain more from having this technology available for everyone. Or at least everyone who can afford a 3d printer.
The future of weapons isn't just cool gadgets. It's the absolute democratization of weapons. Anyone who wants a gun can have one, and people will no longer need to go through a third party to get them. That means we'll finally get to the point these students and the NRA want, where everyone is armed.
We have a Constitutionally guaranteed right to bear arms. This new technology guarantees that that right will remain inalienable. No amount of lawmaking is going to remove this information or the ability to build these weapons. I can’t say that I look forward to a reality in which everyone is walking around armed all the time. The last thing I want is to get caught in the crossfire of a technological arms race, spurred by hobbyists with cool new ideas for guns they can print. That said, I can’t help but be fascinated with where we go from here. What the Liberator and the Plasma Cutter show us is that the arms you are constitutionally guaranteed the right to bear are now limited only by your imagination.
-Earnest (@earnestp on Twitter)