When Tinkering Becomes Illegal

from the too-easy-to-break-the-law dept

USA Today's Andrew Kantor has written a column that is basically a defense for everyone's "freedom to tinker." He goes through a variety of situations where the law is becoming increasingly gray and murky (and sometimes passing over into the ridiculous), and points out why it doesn't seem right that we shouldn't be able to modify or tinker with stuff that we've legally bought. He points to things like using an open WiFi network or making a backup copy of a DVD (and ditching the forced-watching of the commercials at the beginning in the process) and wonders how that's different from fixing his air conditioner or changing his oil. However, the point he makes at the end may be the most important. He's basically worried that people are coming to accept the fact that you don't own what you've bought -- and that makes people willing to accept laws that outlaw your freedom to tinker: "But as technology marches on, our laws don't always march with it. They're written by men with agendas that are different than ours -- men who don't understand (or have the incentive to understand) what they're trying to legislate. So chances are there will come a day when there won't be room for men to meddle with technology. The sad thing is that we'll think what they do is against the law in the first place."

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  1. identicon
    Chris in MI., 30 Aug 2005 @ 6:14am

    Re: Illegal Tinkering=Stupid

    WOW you couldn't be more WRONG!
    The Firearm Owners Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) banned the manufacture of any new machine guns for the public. Only military, and LEOs can order new ones from a manufacturer. Also, all Form 1 applications sent to the ATF for an individual to create their own MG will be denied.
    The only new MGs being made outside the factory are by Class 02 FFLs and any gun they make is not transferrable to an individual. It is considered a 'post sample' MG and can only be transferred to another dealer who has a letter from an LEO agency requesting a demo of that particular MG.
    Why do you think an M16 that used to sell for $900 before 1986 is now worth $13,000 ? Its because there is a fixed supply and increasing demand due to the fact that no new MGs can be made.
    P.S. Its a $200 tax on each transfer, not $500
    P.P.S. There is no such thing as a 'Class III' weapon. M16s are considered 'Title II' weapons. Dealers that pay their SOT tax are considered Class 3 dealers....

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