(WPRI) — Starting Aug. 1, Americans will be able to download the blueprints to manufacture 3-D printed guns.
In 2013, Cody Wilson, founder of pro-gun group Defense Distributed, created a plastic pistol with his 3-D printer, internet connection, and online guide. After posting the blueprints for the gun online, the U.S. State Department demanded Wilson take them down, citing he was in violation of the Arms Export Control Act. Wilson complied, but fired back with a lawsuit, citing “free speech” rights.
After a long legal battle between Wilson and the State Department, a settlement was reached in June.
Starting Wednesday, the State Department will allow Wilson to start posting his 3-D gun blueprints on his website.
In an interview Monday, Rhode Island State Police Captain Derek Borek said 3-D printed weapons present a danger to the public.
“It’s another means for criminals to get their hands on weapons,” Borek said. “In light of all the recent shootings of law enforcement officers, it’s a grave concern for us.”
All 3-D printed guns will be untraceable since you can make them yourself. Captain Borek said the fact these guns will not be manufactured with a serial number is concerning.
He said Rhode Island State Police seized dozens of “ghost guns,” which are firearms without serial numbers, during a large biker gang bust in Woonsocket in May.
Another issue of concern, according to Borek, is that 3-D printed guns would be mostly made of plastic, which could make them harder to detect.
“It would make it more difficult if a certain individual did go through a magnetometer to detect that,” Borek said.
Rhode Island Congressman David Cicilline is introducing a bill that will prohibit the 3D printing of plastic firearms.
“Gun violence is an epidemic in our country,” Cicilline said. “We should be doing everything we can to make it more difficult for criminals, children, and individuals with serious mental illness to possess a gun.”
“The Trump administration’s decision will open the floodgates and allow anyone with access to the internet and a 3-D printer to possess a firearm,” Cicilline added. “Even worse, these weapons are virtually undetectable by modern security devices used in airports, schools, and other would-be targets for mass shooters. This is a disaster waiting to happen.”