Devin Coldewey: “If we as a country, and indeed we as a global community, are going to seriously address the question of gun control, we need to address the issue of fabricated weapons and weapon plans, or else the discussion will be moot. This is because the proliferation of 3D printed weaponry changes both the definition of “gun” and of what it means to “control” it.
What is a gun? A barrel is not a gun, nor is a stock, or a sight, or a trigger. But at some point you put these and a few other objects together and you have a gun. As it turns out, strictly speaking, the receiver is how such things end up being defined in this country, at least as a rule of thumb. Buying, selling, and creating the receiver, into which a cartridge passes from the magazine and is prepared for discharge, is buying, selling, and creating a gun.
You may have read that there is already a 3D model of an AR receiver that can be printed, combined with other parts, and turned into a working firearm. The most recent news on that front was such a gun failing after firing just six rounds, leading to no small amount of derision online regarding the possibility of printed guns.”