Washington: As the three-dimensional (3D) printers make artists` and hobbyists` dream a reality by allowing them to produce virtually anything from garden gnome figures to nuts and screws, analysts believe that the devices raise serious concerns about their potential misuse.
The concerns surround the 3-D printers` use for designing and building custom plastic firearms, weapons that could conceivably go undetected.
Senior correspondent with Chemical and Engineering News, Alexander H. Tullo, points out that earlier this year, a self-described anarchist group called Defense Distributed fabricated a nearly all-plastic pistol using a 3-D printer, published the design online and demonstrated that it works.
So far, the plastic firearms aren`t nearly as reliable as guns that are professionally manufactured, but that could change as 3-D machines improve, more materials become available and the designs of the firearms evolve.
Defense Distributed`s pistol demonstration earned them swift condemnation from critics who worried that easily accessible, unregulated and undetectable firearms would make the problem of gun violence even worse.
In response, lawmakers introduced legislation to extend the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 to include a ban on homemade 3-D-printed gun parts.