We haven’t heard anything about 3D printers being misused as small weapons factories for a while now. But now a bill has emerged in New York that would make the sale of the devices conditional on a clean police record.
Scope still unclear
A corresponding bill was introduced by Democratic Senator Jenifer Rajkumar. The regulation aims to close a supposedly increasingly popular loophole in current practice. Convicted criminals who are prohibited from legally purchasing a firearm would instead create individual components in 3D printers and assemble them into so-called “ghost weapons”.
New York’s bill, called AB A8132, would require a criminal background check for anyone seeking to purchase a 3D printer to produce a firearm. Likewise, the sale of these printers to people with a history that disqualifies them from owning a firearm would be banned, US magazine Gizmodo reported.
However, it is not clear from the current draft law whether the regulation should really affect all 3D printers or only devices with certain performance characteristics. However, the senator’s statements lead to the conclusion that she is concerned with all systems of this kind.
Ghost weapons everywhere
“Three-dimensionally printed firearms, a type of untraceable ghost weapon, can be made by anyone with a three-dimensional printer for $150,” Rajkumar wrote in the bill’s explanatory notes. A mandatory background check is intended to ensure that “printed firearms do not fall into the wrong hands.”
It is difficult to say how big the problem really is. The police always present reports about relevant workshops that have been found and are gratefully picked up by many media outlets. However, it cannot be verified whether the resulting impression corresponds to reality. There are also statistics that indicate a sharp increase in the number of ghost weapons confiscated – although this ultimately includes all firearms that are not properly registered.
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