California senator moves to enact ban on print your own guns

By Nick Allen

The Liberator is made almost entirely of 3D-printed components. Photo / Supplied
The Liberator is made almost entirely of 3D-printed components. Photo / Supplied

California could become the first US state to ban 3D-printed guns after a politician said he would introduce a proposed law against the devices.

Leland Yee, a Democratic state senator, announced his plan to outlaw the technology which experts have warned could make gun regulation virtually impossible.

"We must be proactive in seeking solutions to this new threat rather than wait for the inevitable tragedies this will make possible," he said. "While I am as impressed as anyone with 3D printing technology, and I believe it has amazing possibilities, we must ensure that it is not used for the wrong purpose with potentially deadly consequences."

A spokesman for Yee said a bill to prohibit 3D-printed guns was being drafted.

The plastic handgun, the Liberator, was invented by a group in Texas called Defence Distributed, and can be made using a home computer and a US$1000 ($1180) 3D printer that uses heated plastics.

A video showed the handgun being successfully test fired and the images have been viewed by hundreds of thousands of people on the internet. Instructions on how to make the gun can also be downloaded. It uses .380-calibre bullets made from plastic components and the firing pin is a single metal nail which may be too small to be picked up by metal detectors.

Last week the Staples chain said it would be stocking a 3D printer, the first major retailer in America to do so. The Cube 3D Printer costs US$1300.

According to the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, US citizens are allowed to make firearms for their own use but to make and sell guns they need a licence.

Cody Wilson, of Defence Distributed, says: "Gun control for us is a fantasy. In a way that people say you're being unrealistic about printing a gun, I think it's more unrealistic, especially going forward, to think you could ever control this technology."

Two Democratic congressmen from New York are also pushing for measures similar to the California one. It comes after a bill to tighten background checks on gun buyers failed to pass the US Senate last month.

- Daily Telegraph UK

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