Just this week, news broke that the "world’s first entirely 3D-printed gun" was successfully built and test-fired by an engineer in Texas. The technology involves a special printer that uses melted polymers to generate plastic components for a variety of uses, now including working firearms. Today, in a press release announcing a $200 million program for a "Competition for Three New Manufacturing Innovation Institutes," the White House also touted a $30 million award in a similar competition in August 2012 for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
President Obama mentioned the new institute in his February State of the Union speech. The purpose of the institute is to help develop the very 3D technology used to produce the newly revealed 3D gun:
In August 2012, the Administration announced the winner of an initial $30 million Federal award to create a pilot institute, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). Headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio, NAMII consists of a consortium of manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations primarily from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia ‘Tech Belt’. NAMII was selected from amongst twelve teams from around the country that applied for the award. The members of NAMII will co-invest $40 million against the initial Federal award.
Additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, is a new way of making products and components from a digital model, and will have implications in a wide range of industries including defense, aerospace, automotive, and metals manufacturing. Like an office printer that puts 2D digital files on a piece of paper, a 3D printer creates components by depositing thin layers of material one after another using a digital blueprint until the exact component required has been created. The Department of Defense envisions customizing parts on site for operational systems that would otherwise be expensive to make or ship. The Department of Energy anticipates that additive processes would be able to save more than 50% energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.
This announcement comes in the midst of the ongoing gun control debate led by the White House and spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden. Some lawmakers, including New York senator Chuck Schumer, have already called for legislation to ban the plastic guns and regulate the technology involved. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., renewed a call to pass his recently introduced “Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act,” which renews the current ban on undetectable weapons that expires this year.
In a petition emailed today to supporters, Organizing for Action, President Obama's former campaign group, uses violence in Chicago to push for more gun control.
"In 2009, my schoolmate Greg Robinson was in the backseat of a car returning home from a basketball game when someone with a gun opened fire," the letter from "Ronnie Mosley," of Morehouse College Class of 2013, emails.
New Hampshire senator Kelly Ayotte announces this morning that she will not support the Manchin-Toomey gun bill, which is supposed to be voted on today in the Senate. Instead, Ayotte says, she is supporting "the Protecting Communities and Preserving the Second Amendment Act."
Senator Pat Toomey has finally posted the full text of "The Public Safety And Second Amendment Rights Protection Act," the so called gun Senate compromise bill, agreed upon by Toomey, Joe Manchin, and Chuck Schumer. Here's the text of 7,800 word bill:
At a fundraiser last night in San Francisco, President Barack Obama said that the Newtown killer gunned down 20 children using a "fully automatic weapon." From the official transcript, provided by the White House:
At a Virginia townhall for Congressman Jim Moran, a woman asked, "I know you're pro-choice, but why aren't you pro-choice when it comes to self-defense for women?" The crowd applauded. "For example, why don't you guys listen to the young rape victims in Colorado when they said that if they had a gun that they could have prevented their attacker."
After some heckling, the congressman tries to move on to the next question.
A new poll measuring public opinion of gun control measures being considered in Colorado finds the issue could be politically dangerous for Democrats. And most don’t think “sweeping gun control measures will make them any safer,” according to the pollster.
Vice President Joe Biden was asked today whether a "ban on guns" would be more effective than outlawing drugs. "Are you suggesting that we have no -- we just legalize all drugs?," the vice president asked.
Vice President Joe Biden recommended today that "if you want to protect yourself, get a double barrel shotgun":
"If there's ever a problem," Biden said he told his wife Jill, "just walk out on the balcony here--walk out, put that double barrel shot gun and fire two blasts outside the house -- I promise you whoever is coming in ... You don't need an AR-15, it's harder to aim, it's harder to use...Buy a shotgun! Buy a shotgun!"