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How VR Can Help Erode Gun Control Globally

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There’s a concept in international relations called “nuclear latency.” In short, this refers to countries that are “a screwdriver’s turn away” from possessing nuclear weapons. They have the materials, the technology and the data available to quickly assemble them if they choose to, but they’ve so far chosen not to.

Japan is probably the best example of this. After the horrors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan’s population is understandably anti-nuclear. But, that only applies to weapons. Other nuclear technologies for medicine and for the production of power are not only non-controversial, but are an essential part of Japanese life. This has led to a situation where Japan has all of the building blocks sitting there ready to go, but no completed nuclear weapons on hand.

Being in this position works for Japan politically. Opposition to nuclear weapons both domestically and internationally keeps them arming themselves, but at the same time, Japan faces nuclear threats from both North Korea and China. So, leaders like Shinzo Abe have had to walk a fine line on being ready for that threat and not stepping into political dog poop. Add in some protection under the United States “nuclear umbrella,” and they’re in an OK position.

Applying This Concept At The Individual Level

Often (but not always), good ideas that work on a large scale also work good on a smaller scale. Just as nuclear disarmament is gun control writ large, the idea of being “a screwdriver’s turn” away from a gun could be a good solution for many people living under strict gun control laws.

The fact is that anybody with a few hundred bucks can get a gun in 2024. If you can’t find someone to sell you one, you can get instructions online to build your own from unregulated parts and materials. With the possible exception of North Korea and Antarctica, this is true everywhere on the planet.

But, many people are hesitant to break the law. In some countries, mere possession of a firearm is enough to get someone locked away for a long time and ruin their lives. This doesn’t stop determined criminals who are already breaking other laws with big penalties, but it understandably makes a law-abiding citizen not want to take the risk.

2024’s technology gives that person in a “mini Japan” situation more options than “guns” and “no guns” though. It’s entirely possible now to have the materials and tools available to build a gun in mere days without violating the law in most countries. The plans themselves are outlawed in many places that don’t fully respect freedom of speech, but the plans can be either a download away or stored locally on encrypted media.

Laws obviously differ greatly from country to country, so if you’re outside of the United States and are reading this, be sure to consult with a lawyer. In some places, you’ll be able to have a nearly-completed gun without breaking the law while in others, you’ll need to be closer to raw materials and practice making other things to develop your fabrication and printing skills.

Being able to make a gun in hours or days obviously won’t be useful against a criminal attack like a completed one would, but if the fear is an invasion or a rogue government, the ability to get armed when things start getting too bad could still be life-saving.

What About Training? VR Can Help Greatly

The one big downside to this approach is that you can’t train with a gun that hasn’t been built yet. But, there are some ways around this.

In many anti-gun countries, airsoft is the go-to training alternative. With realistic operation, blowback systems to simulate real recoil and the ability to go head to head against other people, you can get fairly decent training. But, there are currently no airsoft guns available that simulate the FGC-9 and other printable firearm designs.

Another possible downside is that getting into airsoft could put you on a list of people a rogue regime or invaders would go after first. We’ll call this the “Red Dawn” problem. By privately using VR at home instead of going out to public places with airsoft, you can fly under that radar for the most part.

Another decent option that’s gotten better is virtual reality. With 3D vision, realistic motion tracking and now realistic controllers and range training software, it’s possible to get experience in the virtual world that translates to real-world skills. You can also do things you can’t practice in real life, like defend yourself from drones:

The only thing that’s needed is to build a housing for your controller to make it handle like the FGC-9 or whatever gun you’d intend on building. This would give the VR experience 95% of the feel the real thing does.

The end result would be the firearms equivalent of the “Japan Option.” Having the materials, skills and training ready, but being just inside the law, could make a world of difference for gun rights globally. If nothing else, dictators and rogue regimes would think twice before doing anything stupid.

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