A year ago 3D printing was a technology that a growing minority of the population of industrialized nations had heard of. Now, owing to one man and his gun, it is a technology that the industrialized world is not only aware of, but split upon whether to even allow it in people’s homes. Still, two-thirds of citizens of the USA believe that 3D printers should be allowed in the home.
However, a majority (53 percent) of these Americans oppose allowing people to print their own guns. Most demographic and political groups support private ownership of 3D printers, although men are 14 points more likely than women (69 to 55 percent).
Support for 3D printers increases with income but decreases with age. For instance, while 77 percent of college-aged Americans support household 3D printers, only 43 percent of seniors agree.
Among those who support ‘private ownership’ of 3D printers, the most significant difference emerges between men and women, when it comes to the issue of using home 3D printers to print guns. Whilst 57 percent of men think US citizens should be allowed to print their own guns, only 28 percent of women agree.
I’d propose that these statistics will gradually fall to a larger majority that agree with home 3D printing, as media hype around the gun story drops. Indeed, as a man with a 3D printer two feet away from him in his living room as he types this, I find it quite bizarre that my 3D printer could be seen as anything other than a device to aid production of harmless, useful, custom items and parts.
Still, I’m in the UK where gun deaths totalled 8 last year, compared with over 11,000 in the US. And to comment any further, I may lose my journalistic impartiality here …