That could be the outcome of a proposal from California state senator Leland Yee of San Francisco. Upon reviewing recent reports of 3D printable weapons, Yee became concerned about the possible outcomes and has proposed that the technology must be regulated. He says:
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.
We think that while guns are inherently dangerous, regulation of 3D printers would be not only extremely difficult to implement, but place an unnecessary burden on this new, emerging industry that still has to find its way to a functional and successful future.
Why would 3D printer regulation be difficult? We were asked if 3D printers could automatically detect weapons in a manner similar to how photocopiers can detect currency counterfeiting. The answer, we said, was that currency has strictly defined forms that can be detected, while a weapon can take on infinite shapes. Not Easy To Detect.
Meanwhile, we thought the best comment on this proposal came from Fabbaloo reader John Bear Ross, who said:
I bet Mr. Yee would freak if he knew what some folks could do with a standard 3- and 4-axis CNC milling machine in their garage. Or a few items from the hardware store. Or a pointy stick. Or a rock.
Watch out for pointy sticks.