Real Time with Bill Maher‘s panel Friday night tackled “The Liberator,” the 3-D plastic gun that can be printed based off plans published online. 100,000 copies of the blueprint were downloaded this week before the State Department stepped ordered Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson to remove the plans.
Maher introduced the technology: “You could make a doorstop, or jewelry, or a sex-toy, I guess, a 3-D object. Of course, this is America, we made a gun.”
“This is something that could change the equation on guns,” Maher said, noting that a home gun-production facility bypasses any and all restrictions on gun purchases, and a plastic gun could potentially evade metal detectors, meaning it could be brought into courthouses or government buildings.
“I think it also changes the equation on our civilization’s ability to keep up with the technology that we’re developing,” said Zachary Quinto, who plays Spock in the Star Trek reboot, and whose primary expertise on the topic seems to be that a 3-D gun printer is the type of device they’d have on the Enterprise.
“Look where we are with actual guns,” Quinto said, “and our ability to mitigate that debate. Where do you go with something that is so far beyond our capacity to even understand it?”
“We need to forget that it’s a gun for a second,” said Charles Cooke, who then went on to miss the difference between prohibition and regulation in classic conservative fashion.
“This is not just a Second Amendment issue. Libertarians should be freaked out by the prospect of the government getting involved…What other liberties are going to get in the government’s crosshairs? You gonna stop people sharing files? That’s a huge First Amendment problem.”
“You can’t stop it,” Cooke said.
“Well, of course you could,” Maher said. “You can never stop people from breaking the law. That’s a ridiculous argument. Then we would have no laws for anything.”
Maher widened the debate to the corrosive culture surrounding guns, one predicated on an almost pathological dedication to the specter of tyranny. “The NRA had their convention this week,” Maher said. “There’s this palpable sense that they’re whipping up their brethren into some sort of armed confrontation.”
“The NRA has gone from being an advocacy [group] of sportsman and hunters, etc, to saying we need to arm ourselves for armed conflict with the government against tyranny,” Joy Reid said, noting that Wilson is a self-proclaimed anarchist.
“It’s always been like that,” Cooke said, before rattling off the titles of various American documents.
Glenn Greenwald came to his rescue: “There’s always been a strain in America that has said that the project of America is to protect ourselves, the citizenry, from abuses of power by the government, and that’s why we need arms. You can say it’s crazy and disturbing and dangerous, and its all those things—”
“It’s also a fantasy,” Maher said.
“It’s a ridiculous fantasy,” Greenwald agreed. “The problem is, what powers do you want to give the government to be able to do something about this? Do you want them to be able to search homes? Do you want them to be able to prevent people from sharing information on the internet that’s human knowledge about how you make these recorders, and give them power over the internet?
“There’s a huge cost of freedom in letting people talk about how you print these plastic guns, or letting them say these things about arming for tyranny. There’s also a cost to letting the government say, ‘These ideas can’t be expressed.'”
Quinto finished by pointing out that the plastic guns must contain one titanium piece, otherwise they can’t be fired, and thus the guns might set off metal detectors after all. Having a guy from a sci-fi film paid off!
Watch the whole video here:
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