3D Printers

US Attorney General Seeks to Continue Ban on Plastic Guns

The Undetectable Firearms Act, which makes it illegal in the United States to own a gun that cannot be registered by a metal detector, is set to expire on December 9th of this year. Since the announcement of Defense Distributed’s 3D printed Liberator handgun, some US legislators, like Congressperson Steve Israel, have been pushing to have the law extended. After a rise in mass shootings in the United States, including a recent tragedy at Los Angeles International Airport, Attorney General Eric Holder has made a statement announcing his support of the law’s reauthorization.

Holder explained, “This is an extremely serious problem. This is a very worrisome threat to law enforcement and to people who fly every day. We can’t have guns legally in circulation that are not detectable by metal detectors…I would think that this should enjoy broad, bipartisan support and could be done swiftly and quickly. That is what we will be pushing for.”

Among the supporters of a reinstatement of the act are senators Chuck Schumer of New York and Bill Nelson of Florida, with Senator Schumer arguing: “The expiration of this law, combined with advances in 3D printing, make what was once a hypothetical threat into a terrifying reality. We are actively exploring all options to pass legislation that will eliminate the problem.

The current law makes it illegal to carry a firearm without a minimum of 3.7 ounces of metal components, ensuring that the gun will set off metal detectors. Though mass media outlets have emphasized the possibility that members of the drug trade will mass manufacture guns, Richard Marianos of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), points out that the law would be directed at lone assassins: “This is more for someone who wants to get into an area and perhaps be an assassin. Or they want to go to a courthouse and shoot a witness.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with reauthorizing the law, but on comment boards and forums, some in the 3D printing community fear a future in which 3D printing itself is regulated, with one Hack-A-Day reader saying,

“…… OK gonna put on my tinfoil hat on here. Every time I see something like this, I can’t help but think its being pushed by a group that’s actually trying to stifle 3D printing. By intentionally appending as much legal/political red tape to 3D printing as they possibly can. Because I can guarantee for as much prime time news coverage I have seen on 3D printing (read: Zero). I can now almost be guaranteed to see some news piece about how all 3D printers are going to be used by gangs and drug dealers to print untraceable guns……”

It’s difficult for me to imagine many interest groups going after the technology itself, as the America Makes initiative already features large manufacturers, many of whom are already at the helm of US power.

In my mind, it might be a weak publicity stunt that portrays the Democratic party as though it’s pursuing gun legislation, without stepping on the toes of members of the NRA and those that manufacture more readily available (and more powerful) weapons responsible for the acts of mass violence that have occurred in the country over the past two years, including the AR-15 used by the LAX shooter. Or maybe, rather than enforcing stricter gun control laws, such as a universal background check law supported by an overwhelming majority of Americans, an extension of the Undetectable Firearms Act is all that the Democrats feel they can achieve in terms of gun control with a Republican controlled House of Representatives. Then again, I’m nowhere near Capitol Hill, so what do I know?

Source: Fox News