During the controversy surrounding the release of blueprints for 3D-printed plastic guns, the Transportation Security Administration said airport security screeners have been able to spot the so-called untraceable and undetectable weapons in carry-on bags.
The 3D-printed gun controversy began in June when Defense Distributed of Austin, Texas, reached a settlement with the federal government to allow it to make the plans for the guns available for download. Then a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints, and a coalition of 20 state attorneys general filed a motion Aug. 2 to continue to block the release of the plans.
But TSA officials say 3D-printed guns and firearm components have been in circulation for years and have been found on passengers trying to board commercial flights.
Since August 2016, the TSA has detected two 3D-printed guns and two 3D-printed firearm components, all of which were voluntarily abandoned by the passengers who packed them in their carry-on bags, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said.
The most recent component was discovered in January at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.
“TSA officers are trained and on the lookout for 3D guns,” he said. “We have proven detection capabilities and screening protocols in place.”
Like all firearms, explosives and replica weapons, 3D-printed guns are prohibited in the cabins of commercial planes. Passengers caught trying to bring any weapons into a flight are turned over to local law enforcement for prosecution and could face civil penalties of up to $9,800 imposed by the TSA.
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