Trump administration asked to explain a recent agreement that allows free distribution of plans for using 3D-printers to make plastic handguns.
Dozens of US legislators are demanding that the Trump administration explain a recent agreement to allow the free distribution of plans for using 3D printers to make plastic handguns that will be easy to hide and almost impossible to control.
After a lengthy legal battle, the government reached agreement last month with Cody Wilson, a militant gun rights advocate from Texas.
He successfully argued that the US Constitution's Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to private gun ownership, should extend to a person's right to make guns at home – uncontrolled by authorities, since they will bear no serial number.
Dozens of Democrats in both the US House of Representatives and the Senate have decried the settlement and are demanding an explanation from the President Donald Trump's administration, which has been extremely supportive of gun-owners' rights.
Hope y’all are ready to get searched considering 3-D printed guns cannot be detected by a metal detector.— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) July 28, 2018
The real question is how many terrorist attacks are going to happen with 3D printed guns until congress realizes their mistake. #Stop3DPrintedGuns
But five US senators, all Democrats, have denounced the agreement as "stunning" and "puzzling," and have demanded, in an open letter, that the government provide a written explanation of its thinking.
"The settlement will allow these tutorials to be posted online for unlimited distribution to anyone – including felons and terrorists – both here in the United States and abroad," the senators wrote.
Forty-two Democratic members of the House of Representatives shared their own concerns, writing that the administration's decision would only worsen the "epidemic of armed violence" in the US.
At the Pompeo hearing just now, I brought up the danger of allowing do-it-yourself 3D printable firearm blueprints to be posted online. Untraceable plastic guns. No background checks. @SecPompeo said he'd look into it, but he better hurry. They could go online in a matter of days pic.twitter.com/ZODveriUfO— Senator Bob Menendez (@SenatorMenendez) July 25, 2018
"So-called 'ghost guns' do not bear a manufacturer's serial number and may be constructed using plastic materials that are impossible to screen at security checkpoints using metal detectors," they wrote.
"We shouldn't have to wait for someone to kill someone in a House office building after sneaking past security with a plastic 3D printed gun to do something to stop this."
'Blow to gun prohibition lobby'
The agreement between the State Department, which controls the exportation of American arms, and Wilson's Defense Distributed (DD) group was reached on June 29.
But it remained secret until last week, after groups advocating for stronger gun controls demanded its publication.
Starting next week, Americans will be able to download the blueprints for untraceable plastic 3D-printed guns. But some experts say it could present a real danger: https://t.co/hr2GIHfrnN pic.twitter.com/w2Dv2fFRCB— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 27, 2018
The consent agreement "permits any United States person, to include DD's customers and SAF's members, to access, discuss, reproduce or otherwise benefit from the technical data that is the subject of the action."
The SAF is the Second Amendment Foundation, which supported Wilson's suit and has called the settlement a "devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby."
Wilson is due to receive $40,000 in damages and interest.
The DD website invites anyone interested to download the programme to make so-called "ghost guns" starting August 1, when "the age of the downloadable gun formally begins."
That means anyone with a 3D printer – which costs around $2,000 and can be programmed to build objects of almost any shape – will be able starting next week to make plastic-bodied guns at home for just a few hundred dollars each.
Security experts fear that the guns may be able to evade detection by the metal detectors used in many public buildings and airports. But gun enthusiasts say that without some metal parts, the guns will be unreliable and might even explode in a user's face.