Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), and Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) have reintroduced the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act, legislation to prohibit the online distribution of blueprints and instructions that allow for the three dimensional (3D) printing of firearms.
Because 3D printing allows individuals to make firearms out of plastic, these guns may be able to evade detection by metal detectors at security checkpoints, increasing the risk that a firearm will be used to perpetrate violence on an airplane or in another area where people congregate. The increasing availability of 3D printers means unlicensed individuals, including violent felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous individuals, could obtain a firearm by manufacturing it themselves.
These firearms are also untraceable since they do not have a serial number for law enforcement to reference. If the instructions for 3D printing firearms and firearm parts are available online, people intending to commit gun crimes may create untraceable firearms in order to avoid accountability for these crimes. The 3D Printed Gun Safety Act will make it illegal to distribute online digital files that can automatically program a 3D printer to produce or complete the manufacture of a firearm.
“With no background check required, untraceable and undetectable 3D printed guns serve as the ultimate gun-acquisition loophole,” said Senator Markey. “With the click of a mouse, anyone can download a computer file and use a 3D printer to manufacture a semi-automatic weapon. We cannot allow the online availability of downloadable firearms to add fuel to the fire that already is a massive gun violence public safety crisis. I thank Senator Menendez and Congressman Deutch for their tremendous partnership on this legislation that will help close a major safety loophole.”
“With the click of a mouse, anyone with an internet connection and a 3D printer essentially has a license to print, shoot and kill,” said Senator Menendez. “Undetectable and untraceable 3D printed guns allow criminals to circumvent law enforcement and commit crimes. That’s why we must close the ‘3D Gun Loophole’ that allows dangerous individuals to exploit gaps in existing law to manufacture firearms at home they cannot otherwise legally obtain.”
“3D printers are increasingly used to manufacture everyday goods easily and cheaply; but, we cannot allow individuals to make deadly firearms with the same ease,” said Congressman Deutch. “These printers are capable of making high-strength plastic firearms that are untraceable and undetectable – something criminals and other individuals prohibited by law from possessing a firearm could use to evade our laws. Congress must take care to ensure that internet access does not equal gun access.”
A copy of the legislation can be found HERE.
Previously, this ban had been unsuccessful, but, even if successful – these blueprints would likely still be accessible on the dark web to those who know where to look.
These 3D printed, plastic ghost guns are undetectable by metal detectors and can therefore be snuck past security checkpoints. This past 4th of July weekend saw the highest number of mass shootings than any other weekend in 2021, this issue is particularly timely.
Liberty Defense is an Atlanta-based company that has developed an artificial intelligence-powered solution to solve this issue. Its product, HEXWAVE, has the ability to detect both metal and nonmetal weapons and anomalies by using low-power radar to scan individuals as they walk past the panels of the device. It creates real-time, 3D images of what they are carrying on their body, in handbags or in backpacks.
These 3D images are assessed automatically by artificial intelligence to identify handguns, explosives, or other threats, rather than by humans, as the person simply walks past the panels of the device, with no need to stop or empty their pockets.