Should it be illegal to distribute 3D gun-printing instructions?

Awaiting Vote
Bill Summary

This bill restricts the distribution of instructions for 3D printing a firearm. 3D-printed weapons are made out of plastic, meaning they are hidden in metal detectors. This act criminalizes sharing digital instructions for how to 3D print a weapon. Sponsor: Sen. Edward Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts)
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Opponents say

•     "Setting aside the fact that 3D printing is a high cost, limited production technology that does not present a public safety risk, it is already illegal under the federal Undetectable Firearms Act to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm. Even firearms produced with 3D printing technology are required to include a component made of metal, and hence detectable by metal detectors and x-ray machines. In addition, ammunition cartridges are made with metal components that are detectable."

Source: National Shooting Sports Foundation (National Shooting Sports Foundation)

•   "Using cross-sectional time-series data for U.S. counties from 1977 to 1992, we find that allowing citizens to carry concealed weapons deters violent crimes and it appears to produce no increase in accidental deaths. If those states which did not have right-to-carry concealed gun provisions had adopted them in 1992, approximately 1,570 murders; 4,177 rapes; and over 60,000 aggravated assaults would have been avoided yearly. On the other hand, consistent with the notion of criminals responding to incentives, we find criminals substituting into property crimes involving stealth and where the probabilities of contact between the criminal and the victim are minimal. The largest population counties where the deterrence effect on violent crimes is greatest are where the substitution effect into property crimes is highest. Concealed handguns also have their greatest deterrent effect in the highest crime counties. Higher arrest and conviction rates consistently and dramatically reduce the crime rate. Consistent with other recent work, the results imply that increasing the arrest rate, independent of the probability of eventual conviction, imposes a significant penalty on criminals."

Source: John R. Lott (Crime Prevention Research Center)

•   "For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called 'weapons of war,' and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort...The government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology."

Source: Alan M. Gottlieb (Second Amendment Foundation)

Proponents say

    "With no background check required, untraceable and undetectable 3D printed guns serve as the ultimate gun-acquisition loophole. 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."

Source: Sen. Edward Markey (Democrat, Massachusetts) 

•    "With the click of a mouse, anyone with an internet connection and a 3D printer essentially has a license to print, shoot and kill. 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."

Source: Sen. Robert Medendez (Democrat, New Jersey)