The time is fast approaching when anybody with a few thousand dollars to invest in the new line of 3D printers -- printers that can use a digital model of an object and print solid 3D prototypes with moving parts -- can design and manufacture their own guns.
Actually, that time has already arrived, and at least one lawmaker is worried about the ability of security screeners to detect the unassembled plastic parts of weapons produced by 3D printing as they move through security checkpoints, such as those at airports and sensitive facilities.
Despite the soul searching that the nation is currently undergoing in the aftermath of the mass shooting in Newtown, Conn. that killed 20 children, a group of college students in Texas have pushed forward with a project to test fire a rifle similar to the one used in the Newtown shootings that was partially made with components that were printed from a 3D printer. They posted a video of their test on YouTube, which shows they were able to get off at least five rounds before the rifle failed.
The issue of 3D printed guns made of plastic components that could potentially elude detection at security checkpoints recently captured the attention of one lawmaker on Capitol Hill.
On Dec. 7, Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) held a press conference outside the security checkpoint at Long Island MacArthur Airport during which he urged his colleagues to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988. The law makes it illegal to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer or receive any firearm that is not as detectable by walk-through metal detectors or has major components that do not generate an accurate image when subjected to inspection by airport x-ray machines. It is set to expire in Dec. 2013.
Source: Homeland Security Today, http://www.hstoday.us/industry-news/general/single-article/gun-control-meets-the-brave-new-world-of-3d-printing/b01464772db243fc9ef95bca8719b7f5.html