Originally published: April 17, 2013
Last updated: April 17, 2013 - 2:35pm
[Commentary] Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) introduced a bill designed to regulate firearms that cannot be found by metal detectors. The bill makes a passing reference to 3D printing, which is fine. But the rhetoric that Rep. Israel is using to promote the bill is both muddled and overblown, and focuses almost exclusively on 3D printing. This is a problem.
As part of the bill introduction process, Rep. Israel circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to his fellow Members of Congress asking them to co-sponsor the legislation. The title of the letter? “Co-Sponsor Legislation to Ban 3D Printed Guns.” In the letter, he points to a CNN article about 3D printed guns as one that “describes the issue and intent of my legislation.” Later, he dramatically asks “what good will gun safety laws do if guns and gun parts can be printed in a basement using plans found online?” This is the worst kind of fear mongering. While 3D printed guns may get headlines, the details are bit less salacious. That’s part of the reason that the ATF – the government agency tasked with overseeing firearms – is monitoring them but is not overly concerned.