David’s posts on 3D-printed guns (here and here) are must-read, as usual. There is no topic that the press covers less competently than firearms law, and David’s explanation of the details of yesterday’s legal fight provides a genuine public service for anyone who wants to know more than is contained within badly written headlines. And yet it strikes me that, the media’s typical ignorance notwithstanding, this freakout has been caused primarily by the growing realization that gun control is dead. As David notes, nothing actually changed when the DOJ settled with Cody Wilson and co.: The CAD files that will supposedly bring our downfall were already all over the Internet, and are still all over the Internet; the physical process that those files enable was invented a long time ago; far from being novel, Americans have been manufacturing firearms at home since before the revolutionary war; and “untraceable” and “undetectable” guns remain illegal to possess, as they have been since 1988. Legally this whole brouhaha is much ado about nothing.
Psychologically, though . . . in one fell swoop, a large number of people have realized that their aspirations for gun control are DOA. They have realized that the technology was well beyond what they had imagined. They have realized that there is nothing magical about firearms, and that there is nothing remarkable about their manufacture. They have realized, that is, that their crusade is effectively over. Thanks to the explosion of technology that is supposed to be on their side, the tide is rushing in without respect to their royal persons. And they don’t like that one bit.