With a computer peripheral that sprays high density plastic layer by layer, and software downloaded from the internet, you can now “print” a working firearm. This technology will soon be a ready alternative to factory-made guns. As it advances, one will be able to print assault rifles, mortars, and explosive devices.
Manufacturers like Smith & Wesson, Glock, Sig Sauer, Beretta, etc., will lose market share. A printable bullet will soon follow, but you can’t print gunpowder, so illegal arms dealers will become explosives dealers. In a world flooded with untraceable weapons, many will decide to go armed, and since anyone who wants a gun can print one, anti-gun laws will no more eliminate guns than Prohibition eliminated alcohol.
Rumbles—street gang turf wars—will be fire fights. Forced to contend with armed locals shooting from windows and rooftops, police and drug lords alike will change tactics. “Stand your ground,” laws will no longer embolden self-appointed vigilantes (like George Zimmerman), who will realize that their own death could blast from any window. Airport security, unable to detect plastic guns, will go back to explosive sniffing dogs until the day technological sniffing, still a long way off, is perfected.
Deaths by shooting will surpass deaths by heart disease, cancer, and auto accidents combined. An especially high toll will be among hackers and computer nerds whose rudimentary social skills have confined them to “virtual” reality. Weapon in hand, some will try to act out computer games, to be killed or traumatized by real blood and death. The toll will be worst among 10 to 14 year olds.
Ron Paul and his Libertarians, dreaming of days when settlers circled the wagons, will build circular housing developments, rifles on every wall. The wealthy will dig up architectural plans for the Berlin Wall, erecting replicas complete with no-man’s land between, for their gated communities. Bain Capital will make bets on security companies like Blackstone and International Armor that ramp up to protect the 1%.
With anti-gun laws irrelevant, the National Rifle Association will focus on keeping explosives legal, fiercely opposed by police departments, peace-niks, tree huggers, vegans, and Volvo owners. It will also seek a new name, giving consideration to NAA--National Ammo Association, and NEA--National Explosives Association, although the latter would invite a quarrel with the National Education Association, which being computer savvy, would threaten to print its own arsenal and distribute weapons to unemployed teachers.
Someone will suggest NXA—X for Xplosives. Gun people will like it because NXA has an ominous sound, would look good woven into tattoos, and threatening on the backs of leather jackets.