Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
Printer Security Hardware Politics Technology

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), Gun Control, and Patent Law 380

retroworks writes "J.D. Tuccille of the conservative think tank Reason Foundation discusses last week's news about the first working 3D-printed gun. According to the original article, the partly plastic '.22-caliber pistol, formed from a 3D-printed AR-15 (M16) lower receiver, and a normal, commercial upper' fired 200 rounds without any sign of wear and tear. Tuccille takes the discovery in the direction of politically topical gun control. '...the development makes it clear that a wide range of bans, restrictions and prohibitions are becoming increasingly unenforcable.' But in my mind, this example of additive-manufacturing technology raises even more questions about patent law enforcement. Will 3D printing be to the Anti-gray-market-alliance what online porn became to neighborhood blue laws?"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing), Gun Control, and Patent Law

Comments Filter:
  • Re:Why like that? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Libertarian_Geek ( 691416 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @02:15PM (#40831657)
    Actually, it's illegal for civilians to own automatic weapons made after May 1986. For the remaining automatic weapons (pre may '86); any purchase (dealer to civilian or civilian to civilian) requires a lengthy background check, fingerprint cards, a $200 excise tax and a 3 to 9 month processing delay as the forms are processed through the BATF and background checks are performed by the FBI.

    The price range of automatic weapons ranges from $3000 for an automatic MAC 10 to $15000 for an M16.

    In contrast, the combination of glass bottles and gasoline requires no such background check, is much more affordable and creates much more widespread and indiscriminate destruction. My point is that the term and concept of "gun-crime" is as illogical as "spoon-calories", or "penis-rape", or "crow-bar burglary". Further gun regulations imposed on the non-criminally minded Americans would be an iron-door-paper-house security scenario. It would provide an old stage for acting out additional plays of security theater that would rival the TSA.

    If you're curious about existing gun regulations and the burden, ask an American gun-shop owner about all of the bureaucracy that they have to struggle with. It's easy to assume that the media's narrative is accurate. It's not. You've seen it with technical stories. I don't believe that it's due to a nefarious agenda other than profit through sensationalism and the cost of getting details correct. They often blur the lines between semi-auto and full-auto. If a rifle is black and has a pistol grip and removable magazine, then it gets called a "military style" or "military assault" rifle even though the military wouldn't consider it to be an assault rifle.

    Next, our 2nd amendment is written in a very particular way as part of its checks and balances. "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Because our government's authority comes expressly and voluntarily from the people, there must be a mechanism with which to resist should the government (federal or state), militia, or other citizens attempt to take more authority than was given to them through law. It's very apparent that it wasn't written for hunting, or sport. Penn and Teller have a very good youtube video on the subject. Now, the argument would be: "But if the US became a tyrannical government, what are the civilians with semi auto rifles going to do against a modern army with UAVs, Tanks, Helicopters, Aircraft carriers, etc?" 2 things:> 1st: We have a civilian volunteer army. Think through the implications of that statement. 2nd: Can you think of this situation in history? A massive, highly technical military force against a poor equipped indigenous guerrilla force. We've played both sides throughout American history and have many examples where the local indigenous forces either kicked butt, or made the fight so costly that it ended. The first one started in 1776 and the guerrilla force was us. A more modern example would be Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam. The large, technical force didn't fare so well.

    With regards to the story. The genie is out of the bottle. Multiple genies are out and have been for some time. No one can put them back in. Guns are in this country and as the Japanese said during WWII about the problems with invading mainland America: "There would be a gun behind every blade of grass." A semi-auto (and likely a full auto) gun can be manufactured surprisingly easy.

    What you don't see on the news regularly that is skewing the perspective is how many legally owned concealed carry weapons are around. I was taught to shoot from a very early age. I carry my Glock 26 wherever I go (where legally allowed). Yet, it doesn't make for very sexy news. Therefore, you don't hear about it. You don't hear about it, therefore your whole base of experience is from it going wrong. There are many examples (on a fairly regular basis) of a concealed
  • Re:Already happening (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BlueStrat ( 756137 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @03:07PM (#40832519)

    They may pass laws forbidding the possession of 3D printers that aren't licensed, like unregistered handguns and fully-automatic firearms. Possessing/using an unlicensed/unauthorized 3D printer would result in a lengthy prison term and huge fines.

    They can use the logic of "since an unlicensed 3D printer *could* possibly print a gun, the penalties for possession/use of an unlicensed 3D printer should match those of someone possessing/using an unregistered/illegal fully-automatic weapon during the commission of a crime" to justify making the punishments comparable.

    The licensed and legal printers, in turn, would be secured through "Trusted Computing" type systems so that they must connect online to some central authority that will check the file(s) you're trying to print against a white-list database of legal/permitted designs that may be printed. If it's not on the list, you can't print it, and for for permitted-but-paywalled items, automatically deduct the charge from a bank account or CC.

    This way they can monetize it and control what and how much can be printed and know who has printed what and when, while simultaneously increasing the amount of money going to criminal defense lawyers and the government and filling even more prisons with another whole class of non-violent criminal.

    Sometimes it sucks to have a good imagination and understanding of government/political/human nature.


"Say yur prayers, yuh flea-pickin' varmint!" -- Yosemite Sam