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Printed, home-made and RC weapons and terrorism

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Two residences in Guadalajara were converted by the Cártel de Jalisco Nueva Generación (CJNG) to assemble rifle parts into functional weapons; fighters from the Free Syrian Army were videoed using crude but effective remote control targeting systems on sniper weapons. Elements of Ansar al-Islam have been “overheard” online discussing what sounds like a remote controlled technical vehicle for battlefield use. Both Japan and the UK have recently had 3d weapon printing “scares.”

These are a few of the points discussed in an interesting treatise released recently by TRENDS Research and Advisory , an independent think tank based in the UAE. In the essay author Robert Bunker discusses home-made, 3D Printed and remote controlled weapons and some of their tactical implications for terrorism and insurgency. Some of the information therein is sobering, to say the least. The fact is printed guns are becoming more and more refined; emerging technologies allow us to do things now we only saw in bad movies 20 years ago (though not all of it is yet viable for battlefield or even arduous recreational use). What are the long term implications of that, particularly here in the US where silly and ineffective (frequently cosmetic) gun control measures are rabidly pursued and lauded by the uninformed?

“…terrorists and insurgent organizations will also benefit from the self-manufacturing of firearms as a means to bypass black market weapons constraints — especially in states with strong anti-arms smuggling regimes– as well as in the repair of broken firearms with the metal print of precision replacement parts.

While none of these implications will significantly alter the ‘disruptive' and ‘terror' generating components of terrorism itself, they may alter some of its weapons procurement logistical requirements and potentially even allow for the generation of greater number of casualties during a specific terrorist incident while at the same time greatly reducing terrorist casualties in return. Additionally, such incidents would likely help to blur our understanding of both physical and cyber forms of terrorism, as they presently exist. This would result in unique counterterrorism dilemmas being created that would ultimately require new and innovative response and intelligence protocols being developed by police and state security forces.”

I intended to write a much longer comment about some of the domestic implications of this, then realized I couldn't top what Jon of PHLster Holsters said, so I'll just quote him.

“21st Century technology is the death of prohibition. If it can be made privately and personally in the home (drugs, alcohol, machines, devices) and especially if it can be made readily with kits and appliances (like combining ingredients and tossing them in the microwave), it cannot be regulated without accepting massive intrusions into every facet of the private and personal life. When we find ourselves in a world in which consumers can generate whatever they want without relying on external suppliers or manufacturers, we will need to focus on ways of improving society and humanity that excludes the idea of bans and restrictions.”

You can read the entire article right here and you probably should.

Once again, hat tip to Feral Jundi.

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