3D Printers Don’t Kill People

An new article appearing on Slashdot, and verified on Wired.com states that 3D printer manufacturer, Stratasys, is revoking the lease and repossessing the printer belonging to Cody Wilson. In case you didn’t know, he’s the guy behind the Defense Distributed project to 3D print a gun. According to New Scientist, Stratasys cited his lack of a federal firearms manufacturing license as their reason, adding that they don’t knowingly allow their printers to be used for illegal purposes.

Some have tried to make the connection that this is no different than a copier company repossessing their device when someone is caught counterfeiting.  That would be a valid argument except it’s not illegal in the USA to make your own firearm.  A manufacturing license is only required if you plan to sell or distribute firearms. Mr. Wilson’s project never intended to manufacture firearms for sale or distribution, only for personal use.

As printers we have to comply with many laws including copyright and counterfeit, but we live in interesting times when a device can be repossessed by the lessor simply because they object to the content it is legally being used to produce. We’re guessing this will end up in court, and the outcome could have implications to anyone leasing their equipment.


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