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Legislation Would Ban 'Print-Your-Own' Guns

Making a fully functional gun has gotten as easy as 1-2-3.

A libertarian group says it has manufactured the first working plastic gun made entirely with a 3-D printer — and the weapon would elude metal detection.

The Texas-based group, Defense Distributed, said it soon plans to publish the digital blueprint for anyone, including terrorists, to download anywhere in the world.

“Everyone’s seen the movie ‘In the Line of Fire,’ where one of the great bad guys, [played by] John Malkovich, labored at making a gun out of plastic and wood so it could get through metal detectors and he could assassinate the president,” Sen. Charles Schumer said yesterday.

“But that was only a movie, and just [last] week, it has become reality,” he added, as he proposed legislation to make such guns illegal.

“We’re facing a situation where anyone — a felon, a terrorist — can open a gun factory in their garage and the weapons they make will be undetectable. It’s stomach-churning.”

The proposed legislation is designed to amend a ban on “undetectable weapons” to refer to any gun, magazine or firearm component that would not be picked up by walk-through metal detectors.

The move follows the announcement by the nonprofit Defense Distributed that it had created a fully functional plastic firearm and that it would release its blueprint after it runs a few more tests.

The group said it had manufactured the hard-plastic handgun — which it dubbed “The Liberator” — using a Dimension SST printer from the company Stratasys.

Using pliable materials, 3-D printers can create solid objects by following digital blueprints.

Although the Dimension is one of the more expensive models, Schumer said a person can achieve similar results with printers that cost as little as $1,500, including one by 3D Systems that costs $1,299 and will be available at Staples.

The Liberator fires standard .380-caliber handgun rounds. The gun made last week got off six rounds before becoming unusable.

It was made of 16 pieces of plastic and designed to use interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition.

Defense Distributed did use metal for one of the components to make sure that the gun complied with laws banning the possession of undetectable firearms.

3D Systems rep Alyssa Reichental said, “We are not a law-enforcement agency and cannot prevent someone from shooting a 3-D-printed gun any more than an automaker can prevent a drunk driver from taking the wheel."

But the firm is “committed to doing everything that is creative, innovative and responsible, even if it means some restrictions.”

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson used a secondhand Dimension printer he had paid $8,000 for, Forbes magazine said.

Wilson could not be reached for comment.

Republished with permission of The New York Post

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