President Donald Trump is going to look into 3D-printed plastic guns, he tweeted Tuesday morning.
“I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense,” he wrote.
I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018
Blueprints for 3-D-printed firearms are set to be readily available online starting Wednesday, Aug. 1. Among the blueprints will be the AR-15 and the VZ-58, a 7.62 caliber Czechoslovakian assault rifle.
The State Department and Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed reached a settlement earlier this year that will allow the group, Defense Distributed, to release the firearms blueprints.
The group’s founder, Cody Wilson, created a 3-D printable pistol called the “Liberator .380” in 2012. He posted the blueprints online, which were downloaded more than 100,000 times until federal officials took down the site over claims of international export law violations.
Wilson sued over the action, and the State Department reached a settlement in June after a multi-year court battle.
The Second Amendment Foundation, the nonprofit group that joined the lawsuit with Wilson, released a statement on their website in which the founder, Alan Gottlieb, called the settlement “a First Amendment victory for free speech” and “a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby.”
“For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort,” Gottlieb added.
A State Department spokesperson told Fox News: “In the course of formulating these proposed regulations, the U.S. Government conducted a national security analysis in the context of the rulemaking effort. Based on this analysis, it was determined that certain firearms and related items that are widely available for commercial sale, and technical data related to those items, is of a type that does not offer a critical military or intelligence advantage to the United States.”
Gun control advocates are concerned that the settlement will permit and expand the availability of untraceable firearms, and gun control groups have been scrambling to block the release of the blueprints.
At-home assembly of firearms is already legal as long as the firearms are not sold. Defense Distributed is one of many companies that provides parts to users seeking to assemble their own firearms at home. Some refer to these firearms as “ghost guns” because their lack of serial numbers makes them untraceable.
David Chipman, a 25-year veteran agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), said: “Criminals have started using ghost guns as a way to circumvent assault weapon regulations. I imagine that people will also start printing guns to get around laws.”
The 3-D printers required to assemble these guns cost between $5,000 and $600,000. Additionally, high-quality plastics are required to assemble these firearms to maintain structural integrity after multiple uses.