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Congress Moves to Ban 3D Printing of Guns at Home

by Fox Van Allen on April 16, 2013

One of the hottest new trends in technology is three-dimensional printing. Being able to download blueprints and create any object in the comfort of your own home would be nothing short of revolutionary. You might one day be able to “print” toys for your kids, replacement parts for your car, or even medicine. There’s virtually no limit to what could be printed.

That fact has New York Congressman Steve Israel worried: What if the bad guys start printing themselves an arsenal of illegal weapons? To combat this threat from the future, Israel is introducing a renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act (H.R. 1474) that includes a ban on 3D printed guns and 3D printed gun parts.

“Law enforcement officials should have the power to stop homemade undetectable magazines and major components from proliferating with a simple click of a print button,” says Israel.

Before you dismiss the bill as premature, it’s important to note that a startling amount of progress has been made on the front of 3D weapons. A non-profit collective that calls itself Defense Distributed has made it a goal to “produce and publish a file for a completely printable gun.” While the group has come up short so far, it has had success with printing parts of guns, including the type of high-capacity magazines congress is currently trying to ban.

Gun policy has become an incredibly divisive issue over the past year, and it seems unlikely that a Republican-led House will allow a vote on anything they believe threatens the Second Amendment. Eventually, though, someone will have to deal with the issue of the legality of printed weapons – ideally, before they hit the streets.


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Discussion loading


From Richard Reiter on April 16, 2013 :: 10:26 am

I printed one of these ar-15 lower receivers about 3 days ago. Already fired about 200 rounds no faults. They work. Well. The problem is you need to have a fire control group to install into the part. Amatures aren’t going to know how to do that. It does take a little knowledge. But they could learn. It’s just a question of how interested someone is in being a gun smith. Which is a REal life proffession. And someone should be able to pursue that proffession legally if they want.



From Triple Lindy on May 05, 2013 :: 9:31 am

Prohibition does not work, and has never worked in this country. If people want it bad enough, they will find a way to get it. Prohibition has not worked with alcohol or certain drugs.  Prohibition will not work with guns.



From Andy Jorgen Fetterman on May 09, 2013 :: 11:14 pm

This is already illegal, has been for decades. Look up zip guns, the only difference here is that you’re using a 3D printer…



From Josh Kirschner on May 10, 2013 :: 1:27 am

Individuals can make “firearms” for their own personal use, as long as it doesn’t fall into the definition of “Any Other Weapon”. It’s not clear that the 3D printed gun would be classified as AOW under the current definition. It is, in essence, a standard handgun - it’s just made out of plastic. Even if it were classified as AOW, it would still be legal to manufacture by filing a registration application with the ATF. The application will likely be approved unless the individual is otherwise barred from owning a firearm.


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