Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Hsieh Forbes OpEd on 3D-Printed Guns

This isn't directly related to health care policy, but it's a hot topic that's been in the news lately.  Plus it's one of my other public policy interests, so I'm exercising blogger's privilege to post about it anyways!

Yesterday's Forbes published my latest OpEd, "Why 3D-Printed Untraceable Guns Could Be Good For America".

Here is the opening:
In the past few days, Forbes writer Andy Greenberg broke a pair of dramatic stories on Cody Wilson’s quest to build an untraceable plastic gun using commercially available 3D-printing technology. First, Greenberg published exclusive photos of the completed firearm, then he reported on a successful test firing of a live .380 cartridge.

Although the technology is still in its infancy, Wilson’s innovation has already sparked heated debate. Some gun rights advocates (including Wilson) argue this means current gun laws will soon be obsolete. They welcome the fact that home hobbyists may soon be able to build functioning firearms without any background check or government record. Others are alarmed, concerned that this would enable criminals to more easily obtain firearms. Congressman Steve Israel has already stated his intent to modify current laws to ban such guns.

However, Congressman Israel may be too late. Once thousands of motivated hobbyists start downloading open source gun designs and posting their refinements, we’ll likely see rapid technical advances. But Cody Wilson’s real impact on America may not be technological but political — and in a good way...
(Read the full text of "Why 3D-Printed Untraceable Guns Could Be Good For America".)

Update: I've gotten some helpful feedback on this piece.  I should make clear that I don't support government overreach with bad laws.  But neither do I support the anarchists who wish to misuse this technology to violate individual rights either. Instead, I regard this as a good opportunity to promote limited government as the proper alternative to both statism and anarchism. If I was insufficiently clear on this earlier, I apologize!