National Gun Control Debate Threatens 3D Printing With Regulation

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Cody Wilson Wiki Weapon 3D Printing

As the country recovers from the recent mass school shooting in Newtown, CT, and at the same time engages in a national debate around gun control, an unlikely topic is coming under fire: 3D printing.

Basically, there are some fringe gun activists who are exploiting the national attention to gun rights to get some publicity for their new ideas. One of these, Defense Distributed has been publishing their plans for a “Wiki Weapon.”

Those who read know the potentially massive positive contributions that 3D printing can make for our global society. Unfortunately, however, some legislators are now discussing regulations on 3D printing because they are afraid people will print high-capacity gun clips.

Steve Israel 3D Printing Guns

In the release below, Representative Steve Israel (D-NY) writes about his intentions to regulate 3D printing.

Rep. Israel to Introduce Legislation to Prohibit Homemade 3-D Printed Magazines Along with Plastic Guns

As Debate Stirs Around High-Capacity Gun Clips, Homemade Gun Enthusiasts Show Clip Can be Made At Home with 3-D Printer

Woodbury, NY—Today, Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) called for a renewal of a revamped Undetectable Firearms Act that includes the ban of homemade, 3-D printed, plastic high-capacity magazines. The existing ban on plastic guns expires this year and does not clearly cover magazines. This past weekend, Defense Distributed, a group of homemade gun enthusiasts used a 3-D printer to print and test an ammunition magazine for an AR semi-automatic rifle, loading and reportedly firing 86 rounds from the 30-round clip. A video of them firing the weapon can be seen here.

Rep. Israel said, “Background checks and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print high-capacity magazines at home. 3-D printing is a new technology that shows great promise, but also requires new guidelines. Law enforcement officials should have the power to stop keep homemade high-capacity magazines from proliferating with a Google search.”

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said, “With every advancement in technology, there will be those who attempt to exploit it for unintended purposes. And in those situations, it is incumbent upon our elected officials and law enforcement agencies to take necessary action to protect the public. This common sense legislation closes a dangerous loophole in the law, and I strongly support Congressman Israel’s efforts in seeing these dangerous magazines banned.”

3-D printers work by printing layer upon layer of a material, usually thermoplastic, on top of each other in order to form a 3-D object. The revamped Undetectable Firearms Act that Rep. Israel wrote makes it illegal to manufacture, own, transport, buy, or sell any firearm or magazine that is homemade and not detectable by metal detector and/or does not present an accurate image when put through an x-ray machine. The reauthorization would extend the life of the bill for another 10 years from the date of enactment.


Steve Israel photo by Third Way used under Creative Commons license.

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4 Responses to National Gun Control Debate Threatens 3D Printing With Regulation

  1. [...] we have covered before, the national gun debate is raising alarms about how 3D printing can be used to create guns. It is [...]

  2. [...] 8. Cornell Professor Develops Technique for 3D Printing a Human Ear [...]

  3. [...] editor-in-chief of Wired Chris Anderson weighed in on the 3D printed gun debate with a simple [...]

  4. […] Like any other controversy, the 3D printed firearms debate has gone through periods of waxing and waning. Its water-cooler buzz peaked shortly after Cody Wilson produced public plans for the lower receiver of an AR-15 assault rifle- one of the AR-15’s most important and more-regulated segments- and for higher-capacity magazines. Wilson did so in response to the national consideration of assault rifle (and magazine capacity) bans or restrictions which followed the Sandy Hook school shooting. […]

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