Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Peace through guerrilla design

Sebastian at Snowflakes in Hell is collaborating on a project to demonstrate vividly just how asinine the proposed ban on "high capacity" magazines* is.

A YouTube video showing that there's no meaningful speed difference between a 30-round mag and three 10-rounders? An analysis of the utter lack of public safety benefit from the 1994-2004 magazine ban? A visual representation of the tens of millions of untraceable full-capacity mags currently in circulation? Nope.

He and a friend are building a design for a 30-round magazine that anybody can feed into a consumer-grade 3D printer..

I will publish the design here, because I want it to spread far and wide. I’d like to see Paul Helmke try to argue we need to ban CAD drawings too, or restrict 3D printing technology. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. We’re going to do our best to prove that.

It's pretty dumb when people get worked up trying to ban a simple device that can be made in any machine shop. It's dumber still when they try to prevent the manufacture of drugs you can synthesize from cough medicine. Restrictions on knives, which any human can make with a piece of scrap metal and a patch of concrete, are stupid beyond comment.

Is there any way to pretend the proposed magazine ban has a public safety benefit when anybody with a $1200 printer can mass produce them? And that's right now; in a few years, these printers will be cheaper and better. With some of the nascent metal printing technologies being developed out there, it may only be a decade before there are consumer printers that can make most of a gun from scratch.

Once that happens, you'll be able to tell a lot about your government from their response. Do they act like grown-ups and acknowledge that prohibition is pointless? Or do they start regulating the possession and transmission of CAD files and demanding lockouts, spying software, and "fingerprinting" technology in consumer printing equipment?

[* - Or, as the increasingly desperate anti-gun lobby has been trying in vain to brand them, "assault clips", or, I shit you not, "big bullet blasting boxes". Evidently the only talent they can still afford to hire is retired silver age comics writers.]


  1. That is damn cool. CNC FTW.

    Re: lockouts and fingerprinting/steganography on printers -- Didn't we have the same sort of hysteria over consumer laser printers being used to forge documents?

  2. Exactly what I was thinking of. I recall in the mid 90s being told with a straight face that if I tried to make a color copy of a banknote, the photocopier would "call the FBI".

  3. Worth noting that in SAR4 the megacorps do strongly restrict access to "nanoforges", the setting's all-growed-up 3D printers.

    As does the Feed in Neal Stephenson's Diamond Age.

  4. I'm not placing "SAR4", and Google is no help.

    Shadowrun 4th edition?