Washington, DC - December 16, 2013 - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced he would be supporting legislation to ban guns produced cheaply and easily, by anyone, in their home, with a 3D printer. These printers, using digital blueprints, can produce 3D objects using hard, molded plastic. They have been around for more than a decade, and are a miraculous technology that could revolutionize manufacturing. However in recent years there has been a push to use them to make plastic, fully functional guns that can slip through metal detectors in airports and elsewhere. This week, for the first time, a non-profit organization achieved this goal, and plans to upload those plans to the internet this week. Schumer today said that this will allow any person with an internet connection and a little over $1000 dollars to produce a gun that is essentially undetectable.
Schumer today announced that he would be supporting legislation to make it a crime to produce such a weapon, as well as to produce high capacity magazines and other gun parts. Only weapons that have no metal and could therefore slip through a metal detector undetected will be affected. The legislation that currently bans such weapons expires at the end of the year, and has not been updated to deal with this new reality. Congressman Steve Israel (D-NY) has been leading the call to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act in Congress and introduced an updated version of the legislation to include major firearm components and magazines.
“These guns are just as deadly as any you’d see in a gun store, impossible to detect, and can be easily made by anyone with an internet connection and a thousand dollars,” said Schumer. “This means that anyone, anywhere, can now produce their own deadly weapons, and it must be stopped. 3D printers are a remarkable technology and have the capability to revolutionize manufacturing, and I am in no way suggesting that they be banned or tampered with. We are simply attempting to outlaw their use for the productions of deadly weapons.”
“Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser. Technology moves so quickly that just a few months ago when I first started talking about the issue of plastic firearms, I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology appears to be upon us, we need to act now to extend the ban plastic firearms,” said Congressman Steve Israel.
The non-profit group, “Defense Distributed,” recently showcased images of the very first 3D-printable gun using a 3D-printer. The gun, known as “the Liberator,” is made up of sixteen pieces of plastic and can fire standard handgun rounds. Next week, the group plans to upload its blueprints online which will then be able to be downloaded by anyone. The blueprints will make it easy for anyone with access to a 3D-printer to print and assemble a 3D-gun.
3D- handguns would be almost entirely undetectable using current security measures. Since these firearms would be made of plastic, metal detectors would be useless in their detection.
The Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, introduced by Congressman Steve Israel in the U.S. House of Representatives, specifically targets digital manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printers and CNC mills, which will soon provide the technology for the home production of three-dimensional plastic firearms. With a Texas-based company releasing images of the first 3D-printed handgun on Friday, Schumer says that Congress’ expedience in passing this bill is critical.
The bill aims to extend the ban on undetectable firearms to any gun or receiver that would not be detectable by walk-through metal detectors or would not generate an accurately shaped image of the object on an x-ray machine. Similar standards have been introduced for ammunition magazines.