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MrGrimm888's avatar

Is the ability to 3D-print anything, a civil right?(Details.)

Asked by MrGrimm888 (19102points) 1 month ago

3D printing technology is clearly on the path where the ability to make contraband, and/or weapons, will be potentially as common of a household appliance like a microwave.

This, hypothetically, leads to all sorts of issues regarding oversight. Likely federal. With state by state opinion as well.

Do Americans, based in your interpretation of the constitution, have the ”right” to own such technology?

There are countless positive applications, and obvious benefits for people.
You could print parts for your car, your body, and all types of construction or print parts that could be assembled into whatever you want.

Should people be allowed to own 3D printers, and similar devices?
There is seemingly little oversight, currently. Other than it being illegal to possess certain things.
A current issue facing law enforcement divisions, is the ability people have to aquire parts that can alter a firearm in an illegal (and more dangerous) way. Glock “switches,” are a piece that can be made illegal and when you replace the factory (legal) piece of those pistols they are then fully automatic.
I’m retired from law enforcement, but the “switches,” are a REAL problem from what I hear from people still working in that field.
The black market has already been flooded with stolen/ghost Glocks.
These “switches,” can be gotten online from people with 3D printers.

I don’t really have a preconceived position.

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7 Answers

Blackwater_Park's avatar

If I can build it in my garage out of scrap with my hands, I’d call it my god-given right. 3D printers are cool but mostly hype. That skilled machinist with ill intent is your primary worry. Don’t blanket ban things like this, go after those who have ill intent and the desire to act on it. There is nothing special about 3D printers so they should not be banned. If someone gets caught with an illegally modified firearm, that’s on them regardless of how it was done.

canidmajor's avatar

No. If one manufactures something (by whatever method) that is regulated by law, then it shouldn’t be a “civil right” to do so, in and of itself.

gorillapaws's avatar

I’ll use an extreme example to highlight the point. It would be illegal to manufacture a homemade Javelin-esque missile. It would therefore be illegal to do so with a 3d printer (assuming this were possible—for argument’s sake). The 3d printer doesn’t grant you new rights under the constitution, in other words. It’s a tool for making stuff.

@Blackwater_Park ” 3D printers are cool but mostly hype.”

I’d say this is changing. There are metal 3d printers now that are commercially viable for certain applications.

SnipSnip's avatar

No. Legal manufacturing technique doesn’t bestow legality of an item or the right to possess it.

MrGrimm888's avatar

I’ve been working on my canoe trailer recently.
I also recently had watched a sci-fi series in which a girl worked at a 3D printing company. It was like a RadioShack sized place.
The place was really just a backdrop, but it had me thinking, when I was searching my parent’s garage, sheds, and attics for pieces.
I found some great pieces. My father “scrounged” a LOT, in the military, and at the old Navy shipyard.
Although I found most of what I will use to do this project, I couldn’t help but think “if I had a 3D printer, like basically the ‘replicators”’?( I don’t remember if that’s what they were,) I could make perfect pieces easy.
Then, my mind went to, “what else could I print.”
And as I said, the Glock switches are a relatively new thing. At least as far as how many seem to be in circulation.
Obviously, these weapons are usually found after a violent crime, and they are developing reputations for first responders as a more dangerous version of an already bad problem.

My imagination could find no end of things I would build with such a device.

HYPOTHETICALLY. IF the technology becomes commercially available, in say 15 years, we will have to have these discussions now. I think.

If you could make one as affordable as a refrigerator, then everyone would eventually have one.
It would probably be a great advantage for humanity.

But. This is another double edged sword.

kruger_d's avatar

I imagine auto makers don’t want us making our own cart parts. And even though that would certainly nullify any warrantee, it also poses a risk to others on the road.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^It’s not illegal to do your own “mechanicing.”
If someone has insurance (which it’s illegal not to,) they’ll have to pay for 3D parts failing just like any other failure.

We shouldn’t have to pay anyone, except the Replecator man.

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