Tuesday, October 02, 2012

We live in interesting times indeed.

3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine from Desktop Gunsmith

the Wiki Weapon project aimed to eventually provide a platform for anyone to share 3-D weapons schematics online. Eventually, the group hoped, anyone could download the open source blueprints and build weapons at home.


And I didn't know this:

It’s legal in the United States to manufacture a gun at home without a license — provided it’s not for sale or trade. But this doesn’t include all weapons. Machine guns and sawed-off shotguns are illegal to manufacture without a license. There’s also a law requiring “any other weapon, other than a pistol or a revolver … capable of being concealed on the person” to be subject to review by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms an Explosives (ATF).

Wow. I love the implications of 3-D printing technology, and I really don't have a problem with the Second Amendment, but ehhhh --  this stuff has to be regulated somehow. I grew up in a gun-owning, hunting home, and I know the drill:  laws tend to keep honest people honest, if you outlaw guns then only outlaws will have guns, etc., but having a gun blueprint available online, for free, to anyone, for download and printing? That's very different than having to build your own out of metal or go to a shop and buy one (or traffic with certain folks to get one illegally).

Oh jeez, it's a bunch of Libertarians

When asked about the possibility of a Wiki Weapon hypothetically being used by a child or a mentally unstable individual, Wilson, a fierce libertarian, defended the project.

"People say you're going to allow people to hurt people, well that's one of the sad realities of liberty. People abuse freedom," said Wilson. "But that's no excuse to not have these rights or to feel good about someone taking them away from you."

I am a great admirer of the oft-paraphrased Ben Franklin bit, "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." But let's be reasonable about "essential liberty." Wilson is right that people abuse freedom, but you know, we're living in a society. We're supposed to act in a civilized way. Liberties such as these are limited to people who play nice -- free downloads for anyone is decidedly not the same thing. It's going to -- and should -- be regulated, and our government (which is there to protect us too, lest we forget) needs time to to figure it out. Cute little law project and 15 minutes of fame there, but it's pretty cut and dried. Give it a rest.

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