Is Technology Outmoding Traditional Firearms Regulation? 3-D Printing, State Security, and the Need for Regulatory Foresight in Gun Policy
7 Pages Posted: 9 Dec 2012 Last revised: 13 Jul 2014
Date Written: May 3, 2012
This paper argues that while legal scholars are arguing over the impact that the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago will have on existing state and federal regulatory regimes, technological advancement is putting the entire firearms regulatory scheme at risk of irrelevance. 3-D printing technology may decentralize the manufacturing process for firearms, giving an individual the ability to download the CAD design for a weapon and “print” an unregistered, untraceable gun. Ownership restrictions, gun design restrictions, and state and federal records laws would be toothless in an era of tailor-made, non-commercial firearms production. Prospectively, it is imperative Congress begin to contemplate a firearms market that is highly decentralized, and unaffected by traditional regulatory models. Crafting regulation to deal with the threat of a proliferation of firearms that exist outside of the current regulatory structure is of paramount importance for safety and the perception of safety.
Keywords: Second Amendment, Public Policy, Technology, 3D Printing, Gun Policy, Supreme Court, Federalism, Public Safety
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