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HP reveals stance on ghost guns

January 29, 2019

With gun safety advocates fearing 3D printers can be used to make “untraceable” ghost guns, HP Inc has said it will only allow licensed manufacturers to use its technology to produce guns detectable by airport security.

However, as OregonLive reports, HP’s stance “is unlikely to have significant impact on the supply of homemade guns” as “determined people could probably find their way around HP’s restrictions.”

Over the last few years, fears among gun safety advocates have strengthened surrounding the potential production of ghost guns which are “not subject to legal restrictions over gun ownership” and can be designed not to show up on airport security.

Over 30 mayors in the United States – including the Mayor of Seattle and Portland – urged 3D printer manufacturers “to prevent their products from making the unregulated firearms.”

In response, HP’s CEO, Dion Weisler, said the OEM would not allow the production of such weapons.

“HP is against ‘ghost guns’ being produced on our 3D printers,” Weisler wrote.

He explained that the company has devised a new “responsible use” policy which means its 3D printers can only be used by licensed and regulated gun manufacturers to create guns which are “detectable by security screeners” and “traceable”.

However, a researcher at Oregon State University, Dogan Yirmibesoglu, has said that while OEMs can install schematics which preclude the creation of ghost guns, “it’s easy to get around that by modifying a gun’s blueprints so the printer doesn’t recognise it as a weapon.”

“With small changes you can probably trick it, and the printer will think, ‘Oh, then it’s OK,’” he said.

The researcher added that the most effective way to prohibit the production of unregulated firearms would be through “restricting gun blueprints online”, but even this would not entirely halt their creation.

“It’s a problematic issue,” he said. “But if there’s no blueprints of the weapons online, out there for free, nobody can print those unless they’re gun specialists.”

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