Pollster warns against rush to regulate 3D printing

Pollster Emily Ekins is warning lawmakers against rushing to regulate 3D printing amid a debate over blueprints to make plastic untraceable guns.

Ekins, the director of polling at the CATO Institute, said regulations could hinder other important uses for 3D technology, including in the medical field.

“It’s pretty new technology, and I think a lot of people might be unfamiliar with what that even is. But the thing is that 3D printers have the capacity to print … other items that can be really useful in the medical fields and in other areas of technology,” she told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." 

“I think what we need to look for is if people are going to use this issue to try to regulate the use of 3D printers," she continued. 

"So it’s not just about whether people can use these printers to print 3D guns," said Ekins. "What if we prevent people from being able to use these printers as technology that can really help benefit the lives of other people." 

A Texas-based company, Defense Distributed, sparked a firestorm earlier this week when it said that it would provide blueprints for 3D printing guns.

Several states vowed to sue over the move, leading the company to announce Tuesday that it would not release the gun blueprints.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpOver 100 lawmakers consistently voted against chemical safeguards: study CNN's Anderson Cooper unloads on Trump Jr. for spreading 'idiotic' conspiracy theories about him Cohn: Jamie Dimon would be 'phenomenal' president MORE had also said he would look into the issue.

A Democratic bill in the Senate would have sought to bar anyone from publicly releasing those blueprints, but was blocked by Republican Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeOvernight Health Care: Opioid legislation passes overwhelmingly | DOJ backs Cigna-Express Scripts merger | Senate passes ban on pharmacy gag clauses US military intervention in Venezuela would be a major mistake The Hill's 12:30 Report — Obama jumps into midterm fight with speech blasting Trump | Trump wants DOJ to probe anonymous writer | Day four of Kavanaugh hearing MORE (R-Utah), who raised First Amendment concerns.

Seventy-nine percent of voters said it should be illegal to provide people with the blueprints, according to a new American Barometer poll. 

 — Julia Manchester