Florida Senator Bill Nelson pushes for 3D printed gun legislation

Mar 7, 2017 | By Julia

A Florida Senator is pushing to ramp up legislation for 3D printed guns. Senator Bill Nelson announced this past Monday that he has filed legislation with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, which would make it tougher to get 3D printed plastic firearms through security screenings.

This isn’t the first time the American legislators have cracked down on the threat of 3D printed guns. Back in 2013, Congress passed a specialized legislation that requires firearms to incorporate metal components. The theory was that metal part would make the guns easier to detect by metal detectors and security screenings, improving public safety in secured areas.

But there was a key loophole, initially overlooked by lawmakers: the 2013 legislative measure did not encompass whether a firearm’s metal components could be detachable or not. This critical oversight meant that potential firearm wielders could still remove any metal components before passing through security screenings, thus bringing 3D printed guns to secure areas without technically breaking the law.

Senator Bill Nelson

Now, Nelson’s new legislation would require all guns to feature a centralized metal component in the frame or barrel — manufacturing a firearm (3D printed or otherwise) solely from plastic materials would be illegal.

“Thanks to advances in technology, anyone with a 3-D printer can simply print a fully-functioning firearm that can be snuck through a metal detector without being noticed,” Nelson told press.

“Congress acted in 2013 to ban these guns, but a loophole in the law allows people to attach a removable piece of metal to get around that law. These guns pose a real threat to our safety and we need to be doing everything we can to keep them off the streets and out of the hands of those who wish to do harm.”

The new legislation, which can be viewed in its entirety here, is the third time that Nelson and Schumer have attempted to advance this type of motion. After their original initiative in 2013, the two US politicians tried once more in 2015, with unsatisfactory results.

the 3D printed gun seized at Reno-Tahoe International Airport

While actual documented cases of 3D printed gun seizures are not as pervasive, at least for the moment, as Nelson and Schumer intuit, both lawmakers have cited a specific incident back in August at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport. There, TSA agents found and confiscated a plastic gun from a passenger’s carry-on bag during standard security screenings. The gun, which was constructed using a 3D printed, was found loaded with five live .22 caliber bullets.

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