Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is reportedly looking to extend a law banning undetectable firearms that is set to expire next month, warning that 3D printing could make such weapons widely accessible. "We are looking at a world in which anyone with a little bit of cash can bring an undetectable gun that can fire multiple bullets anywhere — including planes, government buildings, sporting events and schools," Schumer says, reports the Associated Press. Though the 25-year-old Undetectable Firearms Act bars manufacturers from creating guns that can't be picked up by metal detectors, it's set to expire on December 9th.
"Anyone with a little bit of cash can bring an undetectable gun."
According to New York Daily News, the act has been extended twice already and updated to reflect new technology, but Schumer anticipates that another extension will be challenged. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) are joining Schumer in pushing for an extension. "3D printers are a miraculous technology that have the potential to revolutionize manufacturing, but we need to make sure they are not being used to make deadly, undetectable weapons," Schumer said, reports the AP.
Though the possibility of creating undetectable 3D printed guns is a real one, the guns haven't been able to hold up very well so far. Last week, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms posted videos of Defense Distributed's Liberator — the first successful 3D-printed gun design — in use, and shattering while being fired. Shattering has been a recurring issue for the Liberator, though some printings of it seem to have been capable of firing off more rounds before breaking than others.
Defense Distributed's founder, Cody Wilson, spoke out earlier today about what he says is a new PR campaign to help push forward the Undetectable Firearms Act's extension. In a blog post, Wilson notes that one proposed extension in the House wouldn't just require that metal be inserted in a 3D-printed gun, but would also ban individuals from producing rifle receivers and magazines on 3D printers as well. "The goal of a new Undetectable Firearms Act is to make development and experimentation with these computer-aided devices fraught with danger and difficulty for the common man ... like any good police state should," Wilson writes.