"America, is this guy a hero or a villain?"
That was one of the questions asked by Glenn Beck during a fascinating and potentially frightening interview with Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed, The WikiWeapons Project. If you are not familiar with them, Wilson's group claims to be "A non-profit collaborative project to create freely available plans for printable 3D guns."
In a segment during Beck's TV program about The Singularity, a technology-evolutionary jump, Wilson was talking about his success in using 3D printers to actually make plastic guns. (Cody Wilson has actually fired these printed components -- see video below.) Beck also showed a functional, high-capacity magazine that was made by the WikiWeapons project using a 3D printer.
While it is illegal to print an entire gun, parts can be printed and guns assembled with relative ease. Cody Wilson explained to Beck that the file for the high-capacity magazine has been downloaded more that 150,000 times since President Obama's announcement of his Executive Orders on limiting guns.
The cost of creating weapons in your own home is coming down very rapidly. Just as with any technology, as it becomes more popular, the price to own it drops exponentially. Both host and guest agree that 3D printers will soon be as cheap to own and operate as ink-jet printers are today.
Is the 3D printer a "game changer" in the gun control debate? Would access to this technology create more bad than good?
Watch the fascinating back and forth between Beck and Wilson on the possibilities (both good and bad) created by the use of 3D printers to make real guns:
The full video showing Defense Distributed's printed magazine in action can be seen here: