A new bulletin from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warns that lethal, undetectable 3D-printed firearms may be “impossible” to contain, Fox News reports After a Texas law student designed and released digital blueprints for the world’s first fully printable gun, the files have allegedly been downloaded more than 100,000 times, despite a domestic ban on distributing the files from the U.S. State Department.
“Significant advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing capabilities, availability of free digital 3D printer files for firearms components, and difficulty regulating file sharing may present public safety risks from unqualified gun seekers who obtain or manufacture 3D printed guns,” reads a May 21 bulletin from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center obtained by Fox News. “Limiting access may be impossible.”
The threats to plastic guns are so grave that private citizens who control the distribution channels have banned them from their networks. Notorious free-information rogue, Kim Dotcom, and one of the largest consumer-facing 3D printed manufacturers, Makerbot, have both outlawed and removed blueprints.
Still, they exist on the same peer-to-peer file sharing services that distribute pirated entertainment (and legal software). “Even if the practice is prohibited by new legislation, online distribution of these digital files will be as difficult to control as any other illegally traded music, movie or software files.”
The solution: universal searches. One law enforcement source told Fox News, “The only security procedure to catch [the 3D firearms] is a pat down. Is America ready for pat-downs at every event?”