May 9, 2013
A handgun made almost entirely using a consumer-grade 3D printer fired a bullet over the weekend for the first time in the history of the infant technology. If some lawmakers have their way, it will also be the last.
Defense Distributed of Texas announced on Sunday that researchers fired a bullet designed for a traditional .380-caliber firearm with a gun built all but exclusively using digital blueprints, some plastic and an $8,000 printer. The only item aside from the bullet not printed out was a single nail that served as the firing pin.
As early s Tuesday, though, California State Senator Leland Yee was already looking to pass a bill that would outlaw other 3D weapons from being built outside of the factories where firearms are regularly assembled.
Sen. Lee, a Democrat that represents a large chunk of California that includes parts of San Francisco, issued a press release this week condemning Defense Distributed’s inaugural 3D handgun.
“We must be proactive in seeking solutions to this new threat rather than wait for the inevitable tragedies this will make possible,” Yee said.
Of major concern to the lawmaker isn’t just the capabilities of 3D printer but how easily the technology can put weapons in the hands of convicted criminals and others who wouldn’t normally be able to obtain a firearm. Thanks to blueprints drafted by Defense Distributed and published on the Web, anyone willing to spend the money on supplies could essentially have a working gun without ever leaving their home.
“Part of the reason we have background checks is to ensure that felons, criminals, are not going to have guns,” Yee said this week. “[And] that those individuals who have mental health issues are not going to have guns. And so now there is a gaping loophole to allow any individual to make a gun undetected, and the guns themselves are undetected. It’s going to create a tremendously unsafe situation for the rest of society.”
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“What I’m looking at right now is to ensure that any individual who is going to make a gun out of these 3D printers go through a background check, just like any other individuals who purchase a gun,” Yee said.
Elsewhere, lawmakers are looking to advance local 3D-printed gun bans as well. Washington, DC council member Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6) introduced a proposal that would
This article originally appeared on : Prison Planet