U.S. Senators Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Congressman Ted Deutch (FL-22) today introduced the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act, legislation to prohibit the online distribution of blueprints and instructions that allow for the three dimensional (3D) printing of firearms. Last year, the Trump administration inexplicably settled a lawsuit against it brought by downloadable gun proponents and agreed to permit the online posting of schematics for the 3D printing of firearms.
Because 3D printing allows individuals to make firearms out of plastic, these guns may be able to evade detection by metal detectors at security checkpoints, increasing the risk that a firearm will be used to perpetrate violence on an airplane or in another area where people congregate. And the increasing availability of 3D printers means unlicensed individuals, including felons, domestic abusers, and other dangerous individuals, could obtain a firearm by manufacturing it themselves. These firearms are also untraceable since they do not have a serial number for law enforcement to reference. If the instructions for 3D printing firearms and firearm parts are available online, people intending to commit gun crimes may create untraceable firearms in order to avoid accountability for these crimes. The 3D Printed Gun Safety Act will make it illegal to distribute online digital files that can automatically program a 3D printer to produce or complete the manufacture of a firearm.
"3D printable firearms present a new threat in our schools, on our airplanes, in our churches and synagogues, and across our communities, and making blueprints for these deadly weapons available online gives anyone with a 3D printer a license to kill," said Sen. Menendez. "We've seen too many lives lost to gun violence, too much suicide, and too many young people slaughtered in mass shootings that we must do everything we can to stop the bloodshed. Make no mistake, do-it-yourself plastic guns are not only deadly, but all the more menacing because they are undetectable, untraceable and anyone with an internet connection can download the instructions to print one."
"With the click of a mouse, anyone is able to download a computer file and use a 3D printer to manufacture a semi-automatic weapon," said Sen. Markey. "We now live in a world where a 3D printer cartridge can become as deadly as a gun cartridge. 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 partnership on this life-saving legislation."
"3D printers are increasingly used to manufacture everyday goods easily and cheaply; but, we cannot allow individuals to make deadly firearms with the same ease," said Rep. Deutch. "These printers are capable of making high-strength plastic firearms that are untraceable and undetectable -- something criminals and other individuals prohibited by law from possessing a firearm could use to evade our laws. Congress must take care to ensure that internet access does not equal gun access."
Last year, Sen. Menendez and colleagues sent a letter multiple social media platforms calling on the CEO's of Facebook, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google, Craigslist, Reddit and Twitter to proactively block any distribution of 3D gun blueprints on their platforms. Earlier this year, downloadable 3D guns printable plans were still available on Twitter until Sen. Menendez reached out to ask for their immediate attention, and The Trace reported on the issue. Because of the reporting, Twitter updated their policy to explicitly ban 3D gun blueprints in their platform. This highlights the importance of social media and other digital platforms operating in the U.S. to proactively monitor and prevent the online dissemination of these dangerous 3D guns blueprints. The 3D Printed Gun Safety Act will keep these files from reaching these platforms.
The legislation is endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, March for Our Lives, Orange Ribbons for Jaime, Violence Policy Center, the States United to Prevent Violence, and Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence.
Joining Sens. Menendez and Markey are Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.),Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), (Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).
Other members of the House of Representatives co-sponsoring the legislation include Reps. Carolyn Maloney, Bradley Schneider, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Sean Casten, Kathy A. Castor, Judy Chu, Katherine Clark, Yvette Clarke, Gerry Connolly, Charles Crist, Danny Davis, Susan Davis, Madeleine Dean, Adriano Espaillat, Dwight Evans, Alcee Hastings, Jared Huffman, Robin Kelly, Barbara Lee, Sean Maloney, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Scott Peters, Mike Quigley, Jamie Raskin, Dutch Ruppersberger, Jan Schakowsky, Darren Soto, and Dina Titus.