Senator Murray co-sponsors new legislation to block 3-D gun blueprints
Washington DC — Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), co-sponsored a bill to block the online publication of blueprints that can be used to make fully functioning 3D-printed guns. The legislation, filed today by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally publish a digital file online that programs a 3D printer to automatically manufacture a firearm. The move comes just hours before the Trump Administration will allow people to start posting such blueprints online; Senators Murray, Nelson, and others have argued that this decision will make it easier for people in the U.S. who are barred from owning a firearm under federal law – including violent criminals and domestic abusers – to make their own untraceable and undetectable firearms at home using a 3D printer.
“At a time when we are seeing community after community, and family after family being devastated by gun violence, it’s unconscionable that the Trump Administration would simply shrug off this potential threat. The overwhelming majority of Americans have made it clear to me and the rest of Congress that they want more common sense gun safety reforms to keep their families safe, not fewer–and allowing anyone to publish blueprints online that help people print deadly weapons is a direct rebuke to their wishes and to the health and safety of children and families nationwide,” said Senator Murray. “I’m thankful to Senator Nelson and so many others for sounding the alarm on this issue, and I join the many calls across the country and in Washington state to address this issue before it’s too late.”
3D-printed plastic guns are fully-functioning firearms often made with resin or plastic using a 3D printer, making them virtually undetectable when carried through a metal detector or past security. In August 2016, Transportation and Security Administration agents at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport found and confiscated a plastic gun from a passenger’s carry-on bag during screening. The gun, assembled using a 3D printer, was found loaded with five live .22 caliber bullets. For years, the U.S. State Department has argued that allowing these blueprints for 3D-printed guns to be published online would violate federal export controls because the digital codes would help facilitate the manufacturing of weapons that can be accessed freely around the globe. However, despite the State Department’s argument and a longstanding ban that has prohibited Americans from publishing such documents online, the U.S. Justice Department decided to abruptly settle a lawsuit earlier this month that will allow people to start posting blueprints for 3D-printed guns online starting Wednesday, August 1.
In 2013, Congress extended a ban on the sale, manufacturing or possession of these fully-plastic guns by requiring that all firearms contain at least 3.7 ounces of steel so they can be detected by a metal detector. In extending that ban, however, Congress did not mandate which parts of the gun had to be metal – creating a legal loophole that, opponents say, allows people to attach a small removable piece of metal to an otherwise fully-plastic gun. These detachable metal clips, they argue, can be removed before entering a security screening area and reattached again after to meet the law’s requirement. Just yesterday, Washington state joined 8 other states and the District of Columbia to file a lawsuit against the Trump Administration to stop the publication of the 3D printer gun blueprints on the internet.
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