Bill Regulating 3D Printed Guns Announced In NYC


NEW YORK—A new bill to regulate 3D printed guns was introduced by Council Member Lewis Fidler (D-Brooklyn) on June 12.

The bill would amend the New York administrative code to make it illegal to use a 3D printer to create any part of a firearm unless the person is a licensed gunsmith. A gunsmith using a 3D printer to print any part of a gun would be required to notify the NYPD and register it within 72 hours.

Proposed revisions to the code include language ensuring 3D printed guns fall under the same regulations as other firearms. This includes clarification on systems to feed bullets, requirements for a serial number, and regulations against destroying weapons.

Cody Wilson, creator of the first 3D printed guns, and founder of Defense Distributed, said in an email interview, “Such legislation is a deprivation of equal protection and works in clear ignorance of Title I and II of U.S. gun laws.” Wilson was referring to Title 1, the Gun Control Act of 1968, and Title 2, the National Firearms Act.

Fidler’s representative, Brad Reid, said “Before any bill comes out it has to go through the generals council office of the City Council.” He also noted that since the bill made it past, it shows that it is in line with current laws.

A second piece of legislation was also announced June 12 by State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan), which would make it a felony for anyone to manufacture, sell, or use guns or ammunition magazines made with a 3D printer. Rosenthal’s legislation is still in the Codes Committee.

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Under federal law, it is legal for individuals to manufacture certain types of firearms as long as the guns are not resold, are not fully automatic, and comply with set limits such as on gun and barrel length.

The kicker is that in order for a homemade gun to be legal, the person who builds his or her own gun needs to make at least 20 percent of the receiver, which houses the trigger mechanism and other operating parts of the firearm. The law is in place to prevent people from buying all the gun parts separately, and then putting them together. This is precisely the part of the law that 3D printed guns get around, since the receiver can be printed from a digital file.

There are many types of homemade firearms, mainly referred to as “zip guns,” and “pipe guns.” A perusal of the Internet shows homemade firearms built into flashlights, pens, and even made with metal pipes duct-taped onto wooden boards.

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Ernie Encinas, founder of Coastline Protection and Investigations, a former homicide detective who served in the San Diego Police Department for 31 years, said homemade firearms used to be common, but most criminals these days just turn to the black market for their firearms.

“I don’t think it’s going to be that big of a problem, people making their own guns,” he said.

“Why would you use a cheap gun when you can get a regular one on a black market?” he said. He added that most of the criminals he has dealt with used guns that were stolen, then resold. “If a bad guy wants a gun he’s gonna get a gun.”

Encinas added, however, that gun owners should have record checks and be required to register their weapons—whether purchased or homemade.

He noted that registering a firearm will not make it immediately traceable if used in a crime. Ballistics investigators use two forms of information from a firearm to trace weapons used in crimes. The rings inside the barrel are unique to each gun, and the spot where a trigger hits leave unique markings on shell casings.

Encinas said police only collect the information if a gun is used in a crime. “If the gun has never been used on anything, then nothing will show.”

A representative from a local makerspace that uses 3D printing said it’s unlikely the legislation would affect anyone who uses 3D printers for their regular work. The 3D printers are often used for fabrication and design, in art and prototypes for products.

The representative, who requested that he not be named, added that manufacturing a firearm with a 3D printer would be costly. “It’s not cheap,” he said. “It’s definitely expensive.”



  • Mark Tarrabain

    Why, I am compelled to ask, is it perfectly legal in the USA for anyone to make a (simple) gun themselves for their own personal use (ie, they can’t sell them), but not legal to print such a gun for the same reason? This regulation strikes me as incredibly inconsistent.

    • http://www.cognation.net/ deancollins

      Yep….yet again New York politicians show that they are unable to grasp even the most basic of concepts…..so I can legally make a gun out of metal….but print it and i’m breaking NY state law.

      We live in the country of America…..not the country of New York.

    • dimensio

      You appear to be under the misconception that firearm regulation and restrictions are authored by sane and rational individuals who possess a sufficient understanding of the subject.

      • Arrogant Brad

        Mind repeating that without sounding like a pompous douche?

        • Mark Lee

          People write laws about things they know nothing about.

        • King_Anon

          Lmao, i understood that perfectly fine without reading twice and actually felt smart because an individual actually spoke on my “level” . Lmao, you’re an idiot.

    • lf0d

      Don’t worry, when these out of touch politicians figure out that all you need to make a gun is a saw and a drill, they’ll make those illegal too.

  • Loki

    How in the world would they even imagine they could enforce this? What a waste of time. People completely miss the point these days.

  • jutholmes

    Oh thank god for this brilliant politician. I can’t believe they’ve found a way to effectively prevent criminals from printing 3D guns. Now they should make a law making it illegal to melt a 3D gun in your toaster to hide the evidence after you’ve committed a crime with it. That’s it! All crime is solved!

    • bossmanham

      If only we’d just make murder illegal now.

  • Tom Bailey

    I am genuinely confused why nobody told them you can get these files completely anonymously and could be transferred to a printer without internet access

  • Will

    This is really a non-issue, as within the 5 bourroughs you would need a very difficult licence to possess the gun you create. Federal law may allow you to make a gun for your own use with or without a 3D printer, but within NYC, if you don’t have a licence, posession of your nely made gun is already a crime.

  • jimbo97

    I don’t get it. Why don’t they just make a law banning murder?

  • bossmanham

    NY is full of psychotics. The legislature worst of all. You progressives are evil people.

    Also, Encinas recognizes one truth, that criminals will get guns, and then mindlessly drifts into personal registration of firearms, which is idiotic. What purpose would it serve? Seriously? Why does the government need to know who owns what guns?

    • http://justinfranks.com/ Justin L. Franks

      The Supreme Court even ruled that convicted felons do not need to register their firearms, because a felon doing so would incriminate himself, infringing on his 5th Amendment right to not be a witness against himself.

      So the registration of all firearms not only wastes money and does nothing to help solve gun crimes (Canada rescinded their firearm registry because it cost too much money and did not help solve a single crime), the people who we are trying to catch by using a registry have no legal obligation to register their firearms in the first place.

      In other words, like just about every other “gun control” legislation, comprehensive firearm registration only affects the law-abiding citizens who don’t commit crimes with their guns, while the dangerous felons and the dangerously mentally ill aren’t impacted at all.

      Instead of passing more and more “gun control”, we need more “crime control”. We need to decriminalize the simple possession of drugs to fix our extreme prison overcrowding problem to make room for violent and dangerous offenders. It is sickening to hear murderers and rapists being released after serving only 4-8 years while drug addicts convicted of simple possession languish twice as long or more.

      With the prison overcrowding problem solved, we need to increase penalties for violent crime (especially violent crime committed with a firearm). Violent offenders need to be kept in prison until they are rehabilitated and are no longer a threat to society.

      We need to prosecute straw purchasers. We need to prosecute every violent felon who tries to buy a gun and is denied by the NICS background check system.

      If the goal is a safer society, with less violent crime, we need to do all of this and much more, not pass “feel-good” legislation which does absolutely nothing to lower crime rates and which only infringes on law-abiding citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.

  • Undettered

    Today we had Senator Mary Landrieu, Democrat LA, stating for the record that South Dakota is a border state next to Canada. Of course these elected politicians represent their constituents, who continue to vote them into office.

  • Anonymous Cow

    I know, let’s all sink to ad hominem attacks! That will definitely be productive.

  • Tom Horn

    Funny thing about gun laws. Most of the Politicians and like walk around surrounded by body guards carrying guns. But for some reason they believe I am not entitled to the same protection. After all the have the same protection by law enforcement that I have. If I can’t have one then no one else should have one….then we’ll all be “safe”.

  • Anders Robertsson

    “Ballistics investigators use two forms of information from a firearm to trace weapons used in crimes. The rings inside the barrel are unique to each gun, and the spot where a trigger hits leave unique markings on shell casings.”

    Does this mean that a man or woman who kills someone with a 3d printed gun could, on the basis of ballistics, be charged with all murders by the same type of 3d printed gun?

    The rings inside the barrel would, to my limited knowledge, be identical and likewise with where a trigger hits – since the gun printers would use the same blueprints.

  • Pquid

    Just another unenforceable gun law to add to all the gun laws that they don’t enforce anyway.

  • davidvoth

    Pure idiocy. It’s legal for people to make their own firearms, and many people have done so using conventional machining technology.


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