Well well well. Interesting times.
There was recent US court case about whether American governments could outlaw the ownership of 3D printers plans to produce guns. Talk about 2 birds with 1 stone. Is this US case about freedom of speech or freedom to bear arms?
But more interesting is what might be the response of Australian governments to the development of 3D printers which may allow the production of guns?
Although it is not currently possible to produce a gun with a 3D printer, one might imagine that it may be possible one day. And assuming a continuation of current government policy on guns, how might governments respond?
One way is obviously to outlaw the ownership of gun printing plans. Well guess what? The NSW government already did this:
A 2015 reform to NSW legislation created a unique offence for possessing digital blueprints for firearms, including a maximum penalty of 14 years’ jail.
But lots of content is illegal to possess yet people still possess it. So unless Australia governments intend to build a Great Firewall Reef, then that probably won’t work. And don’t laugh a the idea of the Government trying to build a giant Chinese style firewall. This was tried by the “intellectual” father of the NBN – Stephen Conroy.
So if you can’t stop the plans getting out, the next alternative is to try to stop the printers. But it is likely that there will be important (industrial, education, consumer) applications for 3D printers beyond the printing of guns. So what’s left? Licencing and strict regulation.
Can you see it. A government regulating the ownership of printers. John Milton would be spinning in his grave.
Applying for a printer ownership licence. Are you feeling lucky?