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Texas man found with 3D-printed gun, list of lawmakers sentenced to prison

Fully assembled lower for first DD test fire. Dec. 2012. (Kamenev/Wikimedia Commons)

A man who was barred from possessing firearms was sentenced to eight years in prison on Wednesday after Grand Prairie police found him carrying a weapon with some 3-D printed parts and a list of lawmakers’ addresses, U.S. attorneys said.

In July 2017, officers responding to another call found Eric Gerard McGinnis, then 39, after hearing someone firing shots in a wooded area outside Dallas, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Texas. McGinnis falsely told officers he was a CIA agent and was arrested, the statement says.

Officers searched a backpack McGinnis was carrying and found a partially printed 3-D weapon that was loaded and a list with the office and home addresses of several federal lawmakers from both Democratic and Republican parties, the statement says.

Prosecutors said McGinnis had a protective order filed against him after a violent altercation with his live-in girlfriend and was prohibited him from possessing firearms or ammunition at the time. However, he tried to buy a semi-automatic rifle at a licensed gun shop almost a year before his 2017 arrest, the statement says. The purchase was rejected after the store ran a background check on McGinnis, it says.

McGinnis then assembled a rifle using several weapon parts and a 3-D printer to build the weapon’s firing mechanism, the U.S. Attorney’s office said. He admitted to building the parts in a jailhouse conversation with a relative, the statement says.

“Mr. McGinnis applied evolving technology to by-pass those controls to manufacture an untraceable NFA weapon. The fact a prohibited person was able to manufacture an untraceable firearm with apparent ease and anonymity presents a significant challenge and major concern to law enforcement and our community.” said Jeffrey C. Boshek II, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ Dallas field division.

Before his sentencing, a jury had found McGinnis guilty of possessing an unregistered short barrel rifle and unlawfully possessing ammunition while subject to an active protective order, the statement says.

“When he realized he couldn’t legally purchase a firearm, Eric McGinnis circumvented our gun laws by 3D-printing his weapon, eliminating the need for a background check,” said U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox. “This case should send a message to prohibited persons contemplating acquiring guns by any method: this office is committed to keeping guns out of the hands of those who violate protective orders for domestic violence, no matter how the guns are obtained – by theft, purchase, or 3D printing.”


© 2019 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

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