Can the average American make a plastic gun?
It’s hard not to appreciate a film that employs superhero gadgets to introduce a debate about whether or not people should be able to make their own guns. The Power to Print likens the 3D printer to the Green Lantern’s power ring, capable of creating anything the wearer imagines. This comparison provides a playful approach—comic books— to approach a serious safety concern: DIY guns.
Many of the scenes are shown through panels: some of them drawn like comics, some with captions offering headlines or further explanation. The effect can be amusing, as with a broken snippet of Stephen Colbert joking about how easy it is to get a gun in Texas. In other cases, the result is more disturbing. For instance, segments of a CNN correspondent and then a U.S. Senator discussing the issues of censorship and safety sit above two pixelated images—one of armed policemen and the other of armed children.
The filmmaker makes it his mission to resolve whether an average American can actually make a plastic gun, getting help from several experts. The captions and sound effects that accompany his journey add to the feeling that he is a superhero, seeking truth and justice.
Yet it’s not the hours of printing, reprinting, adjusting, and assembling that are the measure of his success. That will be left to his standing in the discourse concerning the legitimacy and legality of plastic guns. And from my point of view, Brett Kuxhausen (writer, director, cinematographer, editor) and his team present an organized, intelligent, and entertaining place to start the discussion.