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How Could 3D Printed Guns Affect Gun Laws?

Host Shirin Ghaffary explores how 3-D printed guns are affecting the gun debate in the United States.

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ABOVE THE NOISE is a show that cuts through the hype and takes a deeper look at the research behind controversial and trending topics in the news. Hosted by Myles Bess and Shirin Ghaffary.


In the United States, the gun debate has been raging for decades. Gun rights advocates think there are enough — or maybe too many — laws restricting their second amendment right to bear arms. Those wanting more gun control believe that to protect people’s safety, we need the government to regulate who can have a gun.

But what happens when technology is one step ahead of the laws? That’s the case with 3-D printed guns. It’s always been legal for adults to make their own guns at home, but traditionally, that required specialized tools and a lot of skill. 3-D printing, however, is changing that, making it significantly easier to make a gun from scratch. This has sparked both interest from gun enthusiasts and concerns about public safety.

Do gun laws need to change to keep up with this new technology?

For more information about the history of the debate surrounding gun control in the United States, check out this article from KQED’s The Lowdown:

I Made an Untraceable AR-15 ‘Ghost Gun’ in My Office-And It Was Easy

Meet The ‘Liberator’: Test-Firing The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed Gun

A Brief History of Gun Control In America

What is 3D printing?

What is 3D Printing?

Philadelphia Bans 3D Printed Guns

Jerry Brown signs bill to restrict, register homemade guns

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KQED, an NPR and PBS affiliate in San Francisco, CA, serves Northern California and beyond with a public-supported alternative to commercial TV, Radio, and web media.

Funding for Above the Noise is provided in part by S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, David Bulfer and Kelly Pope, Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation, The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation, The Koret Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Smart Family Foundation, The Vadasz Family Foundation and the members of KQED.