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3D Printers And The Legal Problems They Are Creating

By on May 15, 2013 in Blog, Boulder Colorado Law Advice Blogs | 0 comments

3D Printers Causing A Legal Uproar

3D printer under blue lighting on a black background

3D Printers have been around for many years now, and many people can recall using earlier versions of what are available today in their high school woodworking class. Perhaps in school you would make little figurines, chess pieces, and generally just a bunch of worthless trinkets.

Nothing special right, however nowadays, these 3D printing machines can create almost anything the mind can imagine, and as we all know, the mind is very imaginative. For those that are unaware, a 3D printer can create three dimensional solid objects of virtually any shape that is first designed as a digital model. The shapes can be created out of almost any material depending on the strength of the drills in the machine as well as the drill bits.

As such, a wide range of objects can be created. To give an idea, 3D printers can create replacements for body parts. For instance, if facial reconstruction is needed, you can print cheek bones, jaws, even portions of the skull if required. The machines themselves and the material it can use to shape and form specific dimensions has improved dramatically over the years. This all seems worthwhile and needed, and any person could come up with a hundred good uses for these machines. But the one that has the U.S government in an uproar, is the creation of 3D printed firearms.

3D Printed Guns

3D Printed guns and firearms are exactly what you would assume them to be. They are weapons which are created from a 3D printer. With the advancements in materials and the printers ability to form specific shapes out of said materials, the creation of guns is now relatively easy. The biggest problem faced was finding a material that was strong enough to withstand the force of a bullet being shot, and the ability for a printer to shape that material.

Though, they now have functioning guns, which can fire, and were made from 3D printers. Really, it’s quite an advancement, and when considering less nefarious objects that can be created, the use of 3D printers in the future leaves a lot of possibilities floating around. That is of course assuming the government does not interfere with the progression of this technology, which because a gun was created, it is striving to do.

Governmental Worries

To begin, the U.S State Department removed and took down all files on the internet needed to create 3D printed guns. The reason for this was that the ability to create a 3D printed guns apparently violates the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. As such, no files that direct a person on how to create a 3D printed gun can be found online until the government figures out the laws to be implemented here.

With that in mind, these new regulations being proposed are going to be setting the precedent for 3D printer laws, and not just for firearms, but for every possible application they can be used for. This is important to consider, because the first regulations being conjured are with guns in mind, and as we well know, guns are an extremely hot topic in America nowadays. The major concern is that since we are so focused on guns at the moment, judges minds may be clouded and perhaps afraid to make a different decision based on our political climate. Essentially, if the very first laws being created and potentially passed for regulating 3D printers, these laws are first being influenced by the controversial topic of guns, and these laws may be skewed and hinder other applications in the future.

Arguments Against 3D Printer Regulations

There are many arguments that have been coming up which oppose the regulations being proposed. For starters, the files which offer the code to create 3D printed guns are online, and the wording found in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations states that regulations do not cover any material found in libraries. The internet, of course, has grown into the largest international public library in history. So it’s said the regulations should not be concerned with what is being found online.

Another argument is that these regulations will in essence stifle free speech. Our first amendment rights need to certainly be considered when moving forward in creating laws. The idea is that countless physical books can be found, and are legal, which cover the design and assembly of guns. How then can the same thing be deemed illegal when found online, and especially for use by devices which most people don’t even have access to. The precedent has already seemingly been set, and the only difference is material found online compared to offline.

Finally, you have the idea that International Law, at least on this subject, differs from what U.S laws state. And when it comes down to it, which laws should we be beholden to? Those set by an international committee, or those created by our own citizens for our own country? It’s certainly an odd idea, and one worth considering. But time will tell how these regulations will turn out, all we can hope is that the judges who are deciding what to do keep in mind that guns are certainly not the only thing 3D printers can create, and rather, there are countless positive uses which should not be restricted based on the idea that they can create weapons.

At The Clark Law Firm, we fully understand that the law can be a difficult and treacherous course to navigate. Which is why if you are in need of a Criminal Defense LawyerDUI AttorneyFelony Defense AttorneyMisdemeanor Defense lawyer, or even help Sealing a Criminal Record, you should be sure to contact us immediately. We will get started on your case immediately to ensure that the most can be done for you!

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