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Schumer Announces Support For Measure To Make 3D Printed Guns Illegal

All-Plastic Weapons Not Picked Up By Metal Detectors
Sen. Charles Schumer announces support for legislation to make 3D printed guns illegal, May 5, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Sen. Charles Schumer announces support for legislation to make 3D printed guns illegal, May 5, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Sen. Charles Schumer is taking aim at weapons crafted using 3D printers.

At a news conference in his Manhattan office on Sunday morning, Schumer called for legislation to make building a gun using a 3D printer to be illegal.

The senator said just last week, a fully operational handgun was made legally using a 3D printer. The weapon was composed almost entirely of plastic, meaning it would not set off a metal detector.

“Guns are made out of plastic, so they would not be detectable by a metal detector at any airport or sporting event,” Schumer said. “Only metal part of the gun is the little firing pin and that is too small to be detected by metal detectors, for instance, when you go through an airport.”

Schumer added that the process opens the door for those who are otherwise barred from legally acquiring a weapon to produce one themselves.

“A terrorist, someone who’s mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon can essentially open a gun factory in their garage,” said Schumer.

Schumer wants to renew a ban on undetectable weapons. The new measure would also for the first time extend a ban on weapons components like plastic high-capacity magazines.

“People have made silencers, stocks, triggers and lots of other gun parts. They can then upload these digital blueprints to the web and then anyone with one of these printers – and the printers cost about $1,000 – can make one,” Schumer said. “It also increases the penalty significantly.”

The 3D technology allows the user to input the digital blueprint which is then produced in three dimensions in hard molded plastic.

Sen. Charles Schumer announces support for legislation to make 3D printed guns illegal, May 5, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

Sen. Charles Schumer announces support for legislation to make 3D printed guns illegal, May 5, 2013. (credit: Monica Miller/WCBS 880)

The technology has been around for more than a decade and promises to revolutionize manufacturing, but Schumer said making weapons is an unintended consequence of the technology.

The non-profit group Defense Distributed last week built a 3D handgun and said it would upload the plans for the gun on the Internet, Schumer said.

Schumer announced Sunday that he would be supporting legislation to renew a measure already on the books. The senator announced Sunday that he and Rep. Steve Israel are introducing the Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act.

The legislation that currently bans non-metal weapons expires at the end of the year and has not been updated to cover 3D printing technology, Schumer said.

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