President Obama doesn’t seem to be a fan of technology. He once even lamented its deleterious effect on the economy, telling the “Today” show: “You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM; you don’t go to a bank teller. Or you go to the airport and you’re using a kiosk instead of checking in at the gate.” Given that, it’s a good bet he won’t be a fan of 3-D printing. Thanks to this technology, people will eventually be able to make the high capacity magazines and AR-15s that he hopes to ban — right from the comfort of their own homes.

It’s already happening. Extreme Tech reports:

“The first 3D-printed gun was created by AR15.com forum member HaveBlue. It was a pistol, and consisted of a 3D-printed receiver, with a fully metal upper area, such as the barrel. The receiver is actually what legally constitutes a firearm, so in the eyes of the law, that’s a ‘real’ gun.”

Statist politicians will have a tough time regulating weapons when gun enthusiasts will have the power to print their weapons, magazines and ammunition from a favorite armchair. But they will try.

President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have claimed that “if it only saves one life,” their infringements of the Second Amendment will be justified. Using that logic, it isn’t hard to imagine a time when politicians will seek to limit access of 3-D printing tech to a select few (i.e., their friends and the “friends” who donate to their campaigns), despite the infinite ways it could positively impact our everyday lives.

Just as the United Nations seeks to wrestle control over the Internet in an effort to control freedom of speech, 3-D printing will be targeted for its ability to safeguard life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Politicians will eventually realize this technology’s potential, and it will be given greater scrutiny. Bureaucrats in Washington have shown no problem with attempting to curtail a right enshrined in the Constitution. They will certainly have no qualms attempting to withhold emerging 3-D technology from the general public.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

6 comments

  1. All of these laws they’re trying to pass is just feel-good BS. Nothing more, nothing less. They fail to understand that the 2nd Amendment gives us the right to bear arms and that legislation isn’t going to stop insanity. Then again, our President has frequently shown that he has no regard whatsoever for the Constitution.

  2. I think you are a little off on your conclusions here.

    “Given that, it’s a good bet [Obama] won’t be a fan of 3-D printing.”

    If he was, his administration wouldn’t have funded a new 3D printing institute.
    http://solidsmack.com/cad-design-news/obama-administration-funds-new-3d-printing-institute/

    And he wouldn’t have said this:

    “I’m pleased that we are taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing by launching a new manufacturing institute in Ohio,” said President Obama. “This institute will help make sure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root not in places like China or India, but right here in the United States of America. That’s how we’ll put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts.”

    That’s probably one of the only things his administration has done that has pleased me 110%. But I digress.

    “Just as the United Nations seeks to wrestle control over the Internet in an effort to control freedom of speech, 3-D printing will be targeted for its ability to safeguard life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Not the whole picture. And invoking the black chopper UN boogyman? Have no fear, the US stopped that measure. Because the US runs ICANN and won’t let go so easily (and rightly so).

    Besides, there are already laws in place.

    1. You need a very hard-to-get license to manufacture firearms.
    2. There are already laws against concealable, plastic guns (that expire 12/31/13!).
    3. Anyone with well-outfitted machine shop could easily already make fully automatic machine guns, suppressors, you name it. Illegal, sure. But it can be done.
    4. Nobody’s taking away our freedoms by enforcing existing laws.

    So, the hyperbole serves no purpose here. Anyone who gets a license can manufacture firearms. No license, no manufacturing firearms. 3D printing counts as manufacturing, so…

    Will that stop hobbyists? Probably not. See #3 above. Then #4 again.

    That Extreme Tech is poorly-written and forming opinions based on it alone is not a smart choice. If you want a better account of the factors, the laws, and the players, check this out:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/26/3d-printing-guns-legal-issues-us-law

    These are interesting too:
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/12/weaponeers/
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/wiki-weapon/
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/08/3d-weapons/
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/10/printers/
    http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2011/08/special-ops-meets-makerbot-commandos-want-3d-printer/

    The greater question is, when this technology becomes far easier, cheaper, and widespread, what will we do with a simplified version of a Star Trek replicator? There’s a lot of questions to be answered, but in the meantime, I’m excited to see what can be done. Bring on the second golden age of American inventors!

    1. You make some good points. The one thing I stand by is that as politicians (of the Obama mold) start to realize just how much of a game-changer this technology is, they will seek to limit its use by guys like you and me. And they will likely be lobbied by businesses that will be severely damaged by 3-D printing.

      Finally, my other excuse for this piece was it was written VERY quickly for the old website I used to work for. The one that won an Editors and Publishers Award for Best Homepage … right before its death. Sigh. It’s a long and sad story…

    1. Interesting find. Seems that small makers have to worry more about big business using the government to create restrictive laws than statist or whatever you call it.

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