Senate passes bill outlawing 3D-printed guns, ‘ghost guns’

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Senate passed a bill Wednesday banning 3D-printed firearms and so-called “ghost guns.”

The bill, sponsored by Senator Cynthia Coyne, would make it illegal to manufacture, buy, sell or possess a 3D-printed firearm or any firearm made from plastic or fiberglass.

Guns without serial numbers, often termed “ghost guns” would also be banned. The bill would also outlaw any firearm that can’t be detected by a metal detector.

“As we struggle to fight the gun epidemic in this country and try to improve our efforts to prevent children, criminals and the mentally ill from possessing firearms, we must not tolerate attempts to subvert our laws by making guns untraceable or undetectable,” Coyne said in a statement. “Serial numbers, background checks and metal detectors help prevent tragedies, and our laws should be clear that no one should be trying to get around them to engage in criminal activity.”

The punishment for violating the restrictions would be up to 10 years in prison and an up to $10,000 fine.

3D-printed guns entered the national dialogue when the Texas nonprofit Defense Distributed posted blueprints online that enabled someone with a 3D printer to manufacture a small pistol.

A federal judge later blocked Defense Distributed from making those blueprints available until the resolution of a lawsuit filed by attorneys general from 19 states and Washington, D.C., to ban the weapons.

A ban on 3D-printed guns was one of the recommendations made by the Rhode Island Working Group for Gun Safety, a task force commissioned by Governor Gina Raimondo, after a mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

“With 3D guns, criminals seeking guns would be able to bypass background checks, age restrictions and gun licensing rules,” Coyne said. “This is a terrifying precedent, a blow to public safety and a huge potential tragedy in the making. We must not wait for the federal government or the courts to solve this problem. We can and must move now in Rhode Island to address this issue.”

The companion bill, introduced by Rep. Patricia Serpa, was held for further study after a House Judiciary Committee hearing in March.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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