Good night! Now they want to regulate 3D printers!!

The possibility of using a 3D printer to make guns has at least one legislator ready to regulate 3D printing.

What next.

California state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) wants to regulate 3D printers after news reports of a gun design that was 3D-printed. According to a report on the CBS Sacramento web site, Yee wants regulations that would possibly track 3D printers and who has access to them.

“Terrorists can make these guns and do some horrible things to an individual and then walk away scott-free, and that is something that is really dangerous,” the site reports Yee said.

Note to Yee: If you want to regulate every conceivable device that could be used to construct a firearm, you might better start with lathes, milling machines, and a lot of other CNC metal-working equipment better suited to the task than a 3D printer.

Have we really come to a point where the little 3D printers you find in high school shop classes must be regulated? We are in an environment where thought leaders are all crying for innovation as a way to advance our economic future. A lot of that innovation comes from the wide availability of devices such as 3D printers. I can't think of a better way of squelching innovation than to limit who can own one.

Discuss this Blog Entry 25

on May 15, 2013

What about access to pressure cookers?

joecooool (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

and don't forget backpacks too!

Somebodynamedsteve (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

Next: butter knives and then sharp edged paper.

Labgeek (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

Don't give them ideas! Or next time you need a pressure cooker, you'll need to give them your id and sign a declaration statement like you do to by pseudoephedrine.

Ed V (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

Yes, especially the scary-looking "assault" pressure cookers ...

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

Velly Dangerous

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

Lots of ignorant people think a 3-D printed object is the same as a properly manufactured product. It may be the case in 5-10 years, but not now.

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

The liberals want to regulate and control EVERYTHING. They look for any and every excuse to add to the list of regulations.

Joel (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

I think our brilliant lawmakers ought to be regulating how many ball bearings are allowed in homemade bombs. If they limit the number of ball bearings then fewer people would have been hurt in Boston. Also limiting the number of rounds of ammunition in a magazine is crucial. Now the crazy people will have to carry five or six smaller ones. Absolutely brilliant thinking!!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

The only way they have a hope of "success" in regulating 3d printers is make possession without registration is a felony - the same way pot and other "drugs" are illegal - possession only.

Yee has a thing about video games. A law he authored in 2005 in CA was found unconstitutional by the CA Supreme court. He also doesn't like guns with clips or magazines. He is also *for* shark-fin soup (and bound feet) as "cultural", even if it wipes out all sharks.

joecooool (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

When did terrorist start using guns and become hit-men??? this guy is going to try to ban anything that can potentially cause harm to a human. here we come matrix! We should ban Yee before his stupidity is going to hurt someone.

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 15, 2013

There are endless ways terrorists can harm us. Banning them all would make for a bleak planet void of everything including sticks and rocks. Just plain flawed thinking here. Not a surprise!

Cato (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

what about sharp pencils? shouldn't we regulate them as well? Someone could get hurt by one of those things.

Ray E (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

Wow, this guy was elected. The level of stupidity is difficult to believe. Maybe we should just make a law prohibiting stupidty.

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

We would do a lot better to regulate who qualifies for political positions!

Guy (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

Attach the word "gun" to anything and someone will want to regulate it

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

I would feel much safer if we could regulate access to California legislators.

Hendruicus (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

Essential to the concept of a free person is the potential for this person to be dangerous. Free people are dangerous, but they must also be good and trustworthy. My fellow countrymen and I are safest when we are free, dangerous and good. I sleep best at night when I know that my neighbors are armed, dangerous, and are good people. If they are not good, and they are neutered by a nanny-state government, I don't sleep well at all! America wake up! As they said in my father's day, "Throw the bums out!"

Ed V (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

Hmmm... Maybe if we make something really nice for his wife and a few of her friends with a 3D printer, she will limit his attack on 3D printers? Start with the jewelry section at ShapeWays?

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 16, 2013

What about swimming pools? It never ceases to amaze me how brain dead people get elected to public office.

Stephen (not verified)
on May 17, 2013

This is a prime example of why less government is better. It becomes a pertpetual motion machine -- I want more, you give more, I take more It never ends Just like the 16000 NEW IRS agents to enforce the Afoordable care act

Anonymous (not verified)
on May 19, 2013

I agree with the previous comments. Let's not forget to regulate fertilizer and home heating/diesel oil in addition to the dangerous printer!!.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 27, 2013

"There ought to be a law!" The most over used, and abused 6 words in the English language.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Aug 27, 2013

I wonder if the state senator realizes that to have innovation and invention, you need FREEDOM. You have to place some trust in people. SOMEONE has to invent explosives, new, and more deadly firearms, new methods of travel and communication. If you spend your time fearing what some industrious person might do with these things, then society will never advance.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Nov 14, 2013

I agree! Regulation is terrible! We need to let corporations do whatever they need to do to make money! Regulations impede that! They need profits more than ever! Their expenses, like those incurred in building new plants in China to take advantage of the cheaper labor costs, are immense!

One last thing: Keep your government hands off my Medicare!

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Leland serves as Editor-in-Chief of Machine Design. He has 34 years of Service and holds a B.S. Engineering from the University of Michigan, a B.S. Electrical Engineering from the University of...
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