Should Government Regulate Illicit Uses of 3D Printing?

3D printing is a new technology that raises old policy questions.

3D printing is an important technology that introduces new risks for public safety and intellectual property rights. Although 3D printing opens up new practical challenges, especially around enforcement, the policy questions for 3D printers are not substantively different than for other technologies. We should promote the technology while also ensuring that we have strong enforcement mechanisms and penalties, both domestically and internationally, to punish bad actors who abuse the technology by producing items that would be illegal regardless of how they were created. This will allow consumers to continue to reap the benefits of the technology while also protecting them from its potential harms.