Dems introduce law to block publication of 3-D printed gun blueprints
New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney and three of her fellow Democrats in the House on Friday introduced a law to block the online publication of blueprints showing how to make guns using 3-D printers.
“The idea of untraceable, undetectable guns available to anyone, even violent criminals and domestic abusers, with the click of a mouse is utterly terrifying,” said Maloney, who co-sponsored the legislation with Reps. Brad Schneider of Illinois and Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida.
“The administration’s decision to allow the online publishing of 3-D printable gun blueprints is an insult to the countless families who have suffered from our national epidemic of gun violence,” she said.
Deutch ridiculed the argument that the First Amendment protects the release of the instructions.
“This isn’t about freedom of information; this is about our national security and our public safety. Today’s 3D printers can easily and cheaply fabricate sophisticated, deadly weapons. They can make high-strength plastic firearms that are untraceable and undetectable. That’s unacceptable,” he said.
The Justice Department settled a legal case last month letting a pro-gun group called Defense Distributed release the plans online, prompting 19 state attorneys general to file lawsuits to stop the release.
A judge in Seattle on Tuesday granted a temporary restraining order to block the publication of blueprints until a hearing set for Aug. 10.
The White House has been vague about its position, with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters that President Trump — whose campaign raked in $21 million from the NRA, the highest amount ever donated to a candidate — was pleased with the judge’s order because it gave him more time to “review” the issue.
She also said Trump — echoing the NRA’s argument — supported an existing 30-year-old law outlawing possession of such weapons.
NRA lobbyist Chris Cox argued that since the guns are illegal, there was no reason not to publish the blueprints.
“Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3-D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms,” he said.
“Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years.”
But critics call that position cynical at best and naive at worst — arguing that publishing the instructions would inevitably lead to people making 3D guns whether they were legal or not.
“If plans for homemade plastic guns are readily available on the internet, with just a few clicks individuals could avoid a background check and build a deadly firearm undetectable by security systems,” said Schneider.
The proposed legislation, called the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act, was endorsed by Everytown for Gun Safety; ex-Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was shot in the head by a random madman in January 2011; the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and March for Our Lives.
The legislation was the House companion to legislation sponsored by Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.
The bill would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally publish a digital file online that programs a 3-D printer to automatically manufacture a firearm.