Crackdown on 3D printed guns

By Pat Pilcher

The 3D printable gun design has attracted over 100,000 downloads within the first 48 hours of their release. Photo / Thinkstock
The 3D printable gun design has attracted over 100,000 downloads within the first 48 hours of their release. Photo / Thinkstock

A law has been passed in New York in an attempt to regulate 3D printed guns.

The law called the New York administrative code makes it illegal to use a 3D printer to create a gun unless the person printing the gun components is a licensed gunsmith. Gunsmiths however will be required to notify the New York Police Department and register the firearm within 72 hours of printing it.

The New York administrative code follows another piece of legislation that is in the process of being passed, which makes manufacturing or using weapons and ammunition magazines made with a 3D printer a criminal offence.

Under the new law, 3D printed guns will have the same legal requirements as conventional shooters.

In the US it is currently legal for people to make home grown firearms as long as they are not sold. Home-made Fully automatic weapons are however still illegal.

Home-made firearms are nothing new in the US, but have become increasingly rare as commercially manufactured firearms became more available.

While the media has portrayed 3D printed guns as being cheap and easy to make, the reality is that in the US it is often quicker, cheaper and easier to get firearms via the black market.

Regardless, downloadable gun plans are easily obtainable from sites such as ThePirateBay (which has long specialised in 3D printable models called physibles) and as 3D printers become increasingly affordable, controlling what can and cannot be printed is likely to present lawmakers with serious headaches as technology continues to outpace legislation.

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