Schumer: It’s time to go after the 3-D printable guns

posted at 2:41 pm on May 7, 2013 by Allahpundit

An inevitable follow-up to last night’s item about “the Liberator,” the schematics for which have already been downloaded more than 50,000 times in just a day online. The good news for Schumer and other gun-grabbers? The feds already have a way to go after plastic guns. The bad news? The relevant statute is set to expire soon.

I … did not foresee 2014 being dominated by Mike Bloomberg ads about the evils of weapons that look like Fisher-Price toys, but this is the world we have, my friends.

The senator also proposed updating the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 — which bans guns that can defeat airport security metal detectors — to include printable gun magazines. Defense Distributed has a federal firearms manufacturers license, which Wilson sought after being questioned by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms in 2012. That was shortly after a 3-D printer Wilson had rented was seized by its manufacturer over worries he’d violate the Undetectable Firearms Act. The law, which is set to expire this year, exempts licensed manufacturers to produce plastic guns for use as a models and prototypes.

“There’s no reason for a rifle receiver or a magazine to be, quote unquote, detectable,” Wilson says. “And to make this even worse, they’ll say: well it’s okay for manufacturers to make an undetectable receiver, but it’s just not okay for you to make it. It’s an attempt to regulate some gun parts under the guise of security.”

Actually, Defense Distributed has already figured out a way to make “the Liberator” comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act:

It is a legal firearm provided you include a key component — a heavy slug of steel. The first part of the instructions DD provides addresses that slug:

“Print (ONLY) the frame sideways (the shortest dimension is the Z axis). …

“Once the frame is finished, epoxy a 1.19×1.19×0.99″ block of steel in the 1.2×1.2×1.0” hole in front of the trigger guard. …

“Once the epoxy has tried, the steel is no longer removable, and is an integral part of the frame. Now your gun has ~6 ounces of steel and is thus considered a ‘detectable’ firearm. So now you can print all the other parts.”

With the steel slug embedded in the frame, the gun will ping metal detectors, which means you’re good to go — sort of. That excerpt comes from a piece in The Atlantic chronicling the author’s attempt to download and print a working “Liberator” … in New York City. Among the many logistical barriers are local firearm laws, the scarcity of 3-D printers, the extra expense of making sure the material’s dense enough so that it won’t explode in your hand, and the fact that it’s cheaper and easier to either build a zip gun from materials at the hardware store or simply buy one that’s professionally made from a dealer. The fear here is in the technology’s potential to build reliable, accurate weapons at next to no cost, but that future appears to be a long way off.

The political battle isn’t, though. Watching this, I wonder if the GOP will use the Undetectable Firearms Act as some sort of hedge against voting for other gun regulations. I.e. they’ll vote to renew it — I think — but then cite that vote as proof that they’ve done their duty on “common sense” gun regulations and hope that it placates the people who are after Ayotte and Flake to cave on background checks. But who knows? Maybe Paul, Cruz, and Lee will draw the line on renewing the Act on Second Amendment grounds and this’ll play out the same way the Toomey/Manchin vote did, with the NRA rallying behind them and then other Republicans falling in line. I doubt it after all the Ayotte/Flake angst, but stay tuned.

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Nothing like witnessing the end of statist control, and the statists not being fully aware of it.

The schemers and controllers want to monopolize their force, assault weapons and death. Only THEY can steal. Only THEY can kill.

No, no more. Done enough damage.

fatlibertarianinokc on May 7, 2013 at 6:20 PM

time to go after paper politicians.

john1schn on May 7, 2013 at 6:22 PM


Tar and feathers to be banned?

All you can eat buffets are killing Americans, over eaters should pay extra.

32 ounce $1.00 drinks at McDonalds causes Parkinson’s or something, special tax needed.

Seniors using too much healthcare in final years. Make Hospice Care free and provide a $10,000 tax credit to those that sign up at age 60.

And yet we dummies keep electing this!!!!!

PappyD61 on May 7, 2013 at 6:40 PM

Suck it, Lizardface.

fossten on May 7, 2013 at 9:44 PM

All those who were surprised by this move?


Valid security concerns aside, the idea of anyone literally being able to print unregistered weapons (possibly their ammo blanks too in the future) is absolutely terrifying to liberals.

MelonCollie on May 7, 2013 at 10:11 PM

Two things to think about before worrying about printed guns:

1. There’s no need to print guns unless Chuck and friends make it illegal to otherwise acquire them.

2. If having guns does become illegal the cartels which can smuggle weed across the border by the ton will bring in the guns as soon as there is a market.

Nomas on May 7, 2013 at 11:05 PM

The issue is not whether something should be done but whether something can be done.

The genius of this technology is that it is unregulatable.

You can pass laws but they won’t accomplish anything.

Furthermore, I can put the aforementioned six ounce slug of iron in the handle to make it legal.

Worse though you see how the gun comes apart into bits and pieces.

Lets say I take it apart. Will you spot the pieces?

What if every piece has a duel use. Every piece screws into something else. What if every little bit screws into my luggage.

The ultimate movie that had a plastic gun was “in the line of fire”… it was a neat little thing. They hid the bullet in a lucky rabbit’s foot. Everything else just broke down into little plastic bits that were here or there.

Can’t stop it. You protect yourself in that environment by knowing who is coming through the door… not by search them.

Karmashock on May 8, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Schumer can go bugger himself.

claudius on May 8, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Gotta love Schumer’s descriptive language, “Our Republicans”.

That’ll leave a mark.

MTF on May 21, 2013 at 2:46 PM

Dang it

Dear leader to take credit

cmsinaz on May 21, 2013 at 2:50 PM

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. If amnesty passes both houses, I will never vote republican again.

I know that sounds like the typical empty threat. But in this case, I honestly do not see what the point would be of any longer pretending the GOP cares about limited gov’t.

My one vote and my limited finanical contributions won’t hurt the GOP. but hopefully, others will join in.

I would rather the GOP completely die as a party and allow us a chance to build something new while the DNC runs rampant that continue pretending that the GOP actually opposes DNC policies. The alternative, to continue the pretense, simply means allowing the DNC to pass its entire agenda a little more slowly than otherwise without any real chance of stopping it. At least if the GOP is killed off, a new party may actually come about that supports the idea of limited gov’t.

I don’t understand how Lindsay Graham is not beaten in a primary. Is there really nobody that could beat him by running to his right? I would also love to see McCain gone. Rubio has blown whatever conservative cred he had with this nonsense.

Monkeytoe on May 21, 2013 at 2:52 PM