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Of 1000 Americans Polled, Most Would Ban Home Printing of Guns 578

An anonymous reader writes "In results that may signal some discomfort with the enormous DIY promise of 3D printing and similar home-manufacturing technologies, a new Reason-Rupe poll finds that an otherwise gun control-weary American public thinks owners of 3D printers ought not be allowed to make their own guns or gun parts. Of course, implementing such a restrictive policy might be tad more difficult than measuring popular preferences." This poll is of only 1000 people, though; your mileage may vary.
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Of 1000 Americans Polled, Most Would Ban Home Printing of Guns

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  • Well... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Watch out for the guy printing a pointed stick...

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by sanman2 ( 928866 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @08:46AM (#43761211)

      If you're one of the 38% who didn't support the ban, the IRS and ATF would like to contact you to request your clarification of your position. Be prepared to submit copies of your Twitter and Facebook postings.

      • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Kreigaffe ( 765218 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @11:53AM (#43762431)

        No, actually, they don't give a shit. I could make myself a firearm, RIGHT NOW, and they're OK with that (so long as it doesn't infringe on certain things, like bore diameter, barrel length if it's a shotgun or pistol.. stuff you can own, but need some licenses (tax stamps) from the ATF to own).

        For the price of a single 3D printer you could slam out dozens of zip guns. Don't even need any serious machining tools for that.

        The whole 3D printed gun scare is just that. A scare. It's headlines. That is all.

        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 18, 2013 @12:18PM (#43762635)

          So the poll really reveals that most people are ignorant of the facts, and would happily remain ignorant while voting to take rights away. Though if asked directly "would you educate yourself on all the facts before voting" most would say "yes," but wouldn't actually do it. Or they would consider reading their favorite completely one-sided blog as "education."

          It is also commonly known that having a baby causes huge neurological changes in both parents, which in turn changes their political values. Ostensibly they are more willing to sacrifice freedom (theirs and everyone else's) for promises of security (theirs, that's all they care about). Based on my experience, the changes are a bit deeper than that: it makes them lose their ability to think critically, to see the big picture, and to be smart.

          I wonder how many people in this poll were parents.

        • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by blindseer ( 891256 ) <> on Saturday May 18, 2013 @12:42PM (#43762823)

          I believe otherwise. I think the ATF does care if people make their own firearms because a large portion of the people that make up the ATF do not believe that anyone but themselves are responsible enough to own firearms.

          Someone that makes a firearm at home might be doing so completely within the law but it appears to me that the ATF does not like this because they would have no record of it. If they don't have a record of it then they can't take it from us when they wish. That's just the way they think, it's a culture that exists within the ATF since it was created.

          Of course certain individual ATF agents may not have a problem with responsible firearm ownership, manufacture, or transfer but the people in charge certainly do. There are all kinds of examples of people having their weapons taken from them and never returned, despite it being quite illegal for the ATF to do so. People have ended up dead because the ATF didn't have the right paperwork and they thought someone had an "illegal" gun.

          The ATF has to be very nervous right now over 3D printing. Now it no longer takes expensive machine tools and a certain level of skill to mass produce firearms. Now all it takes is a computer, 3D printer, plastic, and the ability to stack up Lego blocks.

          If the ATF cannot find a way to regulate this then they are going to find themselves irrelevant, and out of a job.

        • Re:Well... (Score:4, Informative)

          by Zenin ( 266666 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @03:36PM (#43764035) Homepage

          Today, sure. But tomorrow?

          The current "zip gun" design is simply a proof of concept, proving that you can in fact CTRL+P a working, untraceable, undetectable firearm.

          It's not dissimilar to the 3d printed large capacity magazines created before it. Although they're already much more practical: A 30 round clip that's cheap/easy enough to simply be thrown away after 1 use doesn't need to reliably fire more then 30 rounds to be fully effective.

          The point however, is that it's a zip-gun's a fully working AR-15 or Glock 17 tomorrow, or even a full on mini-gun, or printed caseless ammo. And "tomorrow" isn't a euphemism for "some day far in the future, maybe, but probably not". No, "tomorrow" really is tomorrow. Between advancements in 3D printer tech, advancements in materials, advancements in software, and a whole bunch of people suddenly becoming interested in and buying their own 3D printers...we'll be far, far past "zip-gun" this time next year.

          Wake the fuck up. This really does change everything. This bell cannot be unrung. No matter where you sit politically on issues of guns, this is the new reality and any regulations you care to write can't pretend reality is something else if you want them to have any real effect.

          Want to ban 30 round clips so bad guys can't fire so many rounds at once as they're marching through an elementrary school? Or ban assault weapons? Or ban silencers? Or require background checks?

          Noble intentions, but how's that going to be effective when 3D printers are as common place and easy to use as ink jet photo printers are today?

    • Re:Well... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by niftydude ( 1745144 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @09:11AM (#43761357)

      Watch out for the guy printing a pointed stick...

      Well, according to TFA, 29% of people surveyed didn't think people should be allowed to own 3D printers at all!

      There are way too many luddites out there.

      • by Flozzin ( 626330 )
        Exactly. 29% of people are just idiots. Who cares what they think about 'hot button topics' when they show this level of stupidity. Ladders! We should ban ladders, that's where many accidents at home come from! /s
      • Watch out for the guy printing a pointed stick...

        Well, according to TFA, 29% of people surveyed didn't think people should be allowed to own 3D printers at all!

        There are way too many luddites out there.

        It's hardly surprising though. The kind of people who are so concerned with what you may own, vice what you do with it, also tend to be kind of people who would want to regulate everything else about what you own and don't own. The overlap is hardly surprising.

      • Yes, unfortunately the summary is not very clear about this; a percentage said that "yes we should be able to have 3D printers" and of that group they asked the relevant question about firearms. So not even the full 1,003 got to answer that question at all. It is indeed a shame though that there's a percentage that doesn't believe in the enabling power of technology. Basement/garage inventors are a cornerstone of innovation - people that haven't been told what "can't be done".
  • by iamwhoiamtoday ( 1177507 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @08:36AM (#43761159)

    Whatever happened to the concept of Personal Responsibility? Of being held accountable for your own actions, instead of the knee-jerk reaction of "it's the firearms fault, ban them everywhere we can." This mass punishment, this taking away of people's ability to use their time and money as they see fit, is crazy. If someone proves that they can't handle a level of responsibility, then I can understand rights being taken away, but to punish everything, to take away abilities from everyone? I find it insulting, that I am automatically assumed to not be responsible off the bat.

    • The problem with printed firearms is that they're plastic. We have no means to detect them. They instantly obsolete our security infrastructure. You can walk onto an airplane with one. You could walk into a courtroom with one. You could walk into the White House, Congress, or the Supreme Court with one. That is a major problem.

      Sure, these plastic firearms could have been made previously. However up until now, the people with the means to make such a weapon were smart enough to not make such a weapon give
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ColdWetDog ( 752185 )

        OK. So we have a world where people can sneak around with .22 caliber one shot pistols that are not visible to metal detectors. I mean, everyone will want one, no? This changes the entire security dynamic, no?

        Lions and tigers and bears. Oh. My.

        Plastic gun printing changes absolutely nothing. The current stamping and seizing about this is simply panem et circenses.

        Enjoy, citizen.

        • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

          You are suggesting thar all weapons are the same. Most people see a difference between guns, knives and bare hands. I imagine even you would he in favour of restricting a hypothetical atomic bomb printer.

          The fact the people do have to stab each other with sharpened toothbrushes suggests that the prison ban on guns is realistic, sensible and effective.

      • The problem with printed firearms is that they're plastic. We have no means to detect them. They instantly obsolete our security infrastructure. You can walk onto an airplane with one. You could walk into a courtroom with one. You could walk into the White House, Congress, or the Supreme Court with one. That is a major problem.

        And banning them will do exactly nothing to address that problem.

        A person who would make a gun with the intention of committing murder with it isn't likely to be deterred by a law banning his gun. Actually, that law already exists... the Defense Distributed guy was careful to epoxy a six ounce block of metal to his before fully assembling it into an operable gun, because it's a federal felony to manufacture an undetectable gun.

      • by 45mm ( 970995 )

        Thanks for the sensationalist tripe.

        First of all - we already have military-grade polymer firearms that are "detectable" by modern scanning technology.

        Second - a plastic "printable" firearm is pretty worthless without ammunition. This would be the doomsday scenario you describe when they manage to make a plastic bullet, and a plastic casing, that won't fragment/explode in the firearm when the primer ignites the powder.

        Finally - if instead of banning firearms from those places, we allowed those with the mea

    • Public Safety (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Thruen ( 753567 )
      Nobody is trying to say if you print a gun and use it, it's the gun's fault. The blame still falls wholly on the person who committed the crime. What you don't seem to understand is that laws are meant to keep people safe and secure, not just punish people after the fact. Nobody needs to prove they can't handle drinking and driving to be told not to do it, there's no reason to wait until people get hurt to stop something. Treating rules and regulations as an attack on your person is just being childish. As
    • by nbauman ( 624611 )

      The problem with personal responsibility is that there are a lot of people around with a friend or relative who was killed by a asshole with a gun.

      They've decided that if you want to stop other people from being killed by assholes with guns, it's not effective to stop people from being assholes. They've decided that it is effective to stop assholes from getting guns. And the only way to stop assholes from getting guns is make it more difficult for everyone from getting guns.

      I've shot guns myself, and I real

      • but when you weigh that against the 40,000 or so gun deaths every year, it's not worth it.

        First off, about 30,000 of those are suicides. Studies have repeatedly shown that gun ownership has no impact on suicide rates. Secondly, the US has roughly 315 MILLION people in it. About 3.5 times as many people die in car accidents in the US each year as are killed with a gun (that even includes self-defense shootings in that number).

        You have to be really into guns to think it's worthwhile to have a friend die in order to have your guns, and most people aren't really into guns that much.

        You have to be really immature to think your emotions invalidate peoples right to self-defense. Even the most anti-gun groups have admitted that there are (low end) 10 t

  • by davmoo ( 63521 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @08:37AM (#43761163)

    Good for them. I want a unicorn, and I'm not going to get that either.

  • Rights (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwasham ( 1208930 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @08:39AM (#43761181) Homepage
    Thankfully my rights aren't governed by popular opinion.
    • You say that but these are the people who vote for your government so frighteningly they kind of are.
      • The constitution already defines what the Federal Government can do and banning plastic guns is not in that list. Of course the US government ignores the constitution (with or without a popular vote) so there is some truth to what you say.
  • "most people" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 )

    Most Americans wouldn't have joined WW2 (at least until Pearl Harbor).

    Most people don't know which came first, the Revolutionary War or the Civil War.

    Most states have passed anti-gay, one-man/one-woman marriage laws.

    Most people generally fear change of any sort.

    There's a reason we're not a democracy, we're a democratic republic. "Most people" are rather dumb.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by rossdee ( 243626 )

      "Most Americans wouldn't have joined WW2 (at least until Pearl Harbor)."

      Most americans weren't alive at the time of WW2

      "Most people don't know which came first, the Revolutionary War or the Civil War"

      Maybe if it was given the correct title "The War of Independence" people would know it was first

      "Most states have passed anti-gay, one-man/one-woman marriage laws."

      They had that on the ballot in November (One Man One Woman) - It failed. Then the other day the Governor signed the bill giving gays the right to ma

    • Most states have passed anti-gay, one-man/one-woman marriage laws.

      Isn't this something that was passed by a Democratic Republic? I don't think the politicians that voted asked each individual person in their constituency how to voted.

  • Yeah? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @08:48AM (#43761221)

    And after 9/11, you could probably have gotten the same results for warrantless wiretapping, indefinite detention, etc. This is why we have a republic, not a democracy. The rightness of a public policy is not measured by popular support. The only real reason to go by what is popular is that if you constantly ignore the popular will on things that are neutral or right, you risk delegitimizing the government.

  • by whizbang77045 ( 1342005 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @08:56AM (#43761273)
    Guys and gals, we made zip guns in Jr. high shop in the 1950s. They might not have been very accurate, but guns they were, and shoot they did. Any attempt to keep people from building and owning guns is a waste of time and money. We do have the right, not priviledge, to keep and bear arms. Just how many tax dollars are we going to spend to deny rights?
  • I think the whole point of developing a technique to print a working gun in the first place was not specifically to make a weapon, but rather was to demonstrate that the ever increasing rate of technological development and scientific discovery is launching humanity headlong into a realm where we will have to address questions that we as a species are not prepared to answer.
  • Barely a majority, 52%? Isn't there something in the founding fathers statements regarding "tyranny of the majority" and hence the reason for the Constitution/Bill of Rights? Any technology can be used for good or evil, people are often killed with wine bottles (a 200 year old technology) yet we don't see a mass effort to redesign/restrict them for "safety". As always the focus should be on the INDIVIDUAL committing the act of violence, not the piece of hardware they choose to commit it with.

    • by ph0rk ( 118461 )
      Clearly no such ban is immanent. That said, prop 8 passed in California with only 52.24% of the vote.
  • Since gun reminds me of that one. (Supposedly you could build a sten in a bicycle shop.) Is a sten much harder to build than printing a gun from a 3d printer?
  • by katorga ( 623930 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @09:17AM (#43761395)

    A Grizzly gunsmith lathe and mill combo costs around $4000, less than a 3d printer. The steel and aluminum rods and blocks are also cheap and available. Anyone can machine a REAL gun cheaper than they can make a plastic one. You make bullets out of lead/tin tire rim weights. If you use an older cartridge that was originally a block powder round like .45 colt or 45-70 govt. you can make your own powder. The only part that I'm not sure of is how one would make brass shell cases or primers.

  • In other news, a majority of those polled responded that the barn door should be closed, despite the horses running free in the pasture.
  • Some Americans own 3-D printers, which can make a variety of plastic objects. Do you think Americans should or should not be allowed to use this technology in their own homes?

    Should 62%
    Should not 29%
    Don’t Know/Refused (Vol.) 9%

    Nearly a third of this sample would not allow you to own a 3d printer at all. I'll take their opinions on guns with a grain of salt.

  • Q.E.D. Most Americans (hell, most people anywhere) lack any sort of philosophy or reality-based worldview of their own and are forced to turn to mainstream media (which is all too eager to hand out their convenient, pre-packaged version with super-sticky adhesive backing).

    To quote James Bovard (sorry, folks; this one doesn't get credited to ole' Ben Franklin after all):

    "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to eat for dinner. Liberty is a well-armed sheep contesting the vote."

  • A well done poll of a 1000 people is actually pretty acurte. The Law of Large Numbers kicks in well shy of that. Apparently a stats class is not necessary to be a Slashdot editor.
  • passing majority (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @09:43AM (#43761557)

    This is exactly why we have a constitution. The fear of the framers was that a "passing majority" could remove our freedoms/rights out of fear or anger.

  • by doug141 ( 863552 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @10:14AM (#43761729)
    Here's a video of a homemade 12 gauge zip gun, better then anything from a 3d printer. []
  • by Rambo Tribble ( 1273454 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @10:58AM (#43762069) Homepage
    Perhaps it's worth noting that, when the Second Amendment was instituted, gunsmithing and the manufacture of firearms was a cottage industry. On the flip side, it's probably fair to say the founders were most interested in the protection of long arms, not handguns. The pistol was developed for the sole purpose of the destruction of human life; not so with long arms, though initial development mainly concentrated on that purpose. .
  • by davydagger ( 2566757 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @11:04AM (#43762117)
    1. Most polls are only of around 1000 people are so, they are done statisticly to reflect the demographic they are meant to represent.

    2. Speaking of 1, given the poll was done by "" themselves, i want to know the sampling method used and its error rate.

    3. the results of the poll where 53-44, so the reality is public opinions are really "mixed".
  • by a2wflc ( 705508 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @12:00PM (#43762483)

    if your survey includes mostly people who do those things you'll get different answers but this survey was almost entirely of people who don't print 3D guns.
    I wouldn't be surprised if surveys found that 53% of the population said any of these if the survey is mostly of people who don't do them

    I don't buy 16+ ounce sodas. Nobody should.

    I don't drink. nobody should.

    I don't smoke. nobody should.

    I don't vote republican. nobody should.

    I don't get food stamps. nobody should

    I don't own a gun. nobody should.

    I don't send my kids to private school. nobody should.

  • Car Parts (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lazarian ( 906722 ) on Saturday May 18, 2013 @03:30PM (#43763985)
    I know the gun thing is the big boogieman now in regards to 3-D printers, but I can't help but think there's more mundane things that a 3-D printer can do that the powers-that-be are afraid of. It sure would be nice to print out a new head light bezel for my truck for ten bucks instead of paying over $200 from the dealership.

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