3D-Printed “Guns”: Questions for Lawyers

What with various state and federal bills intended to ban 3D-printed firearms…

Suppose someone prints up the parts for a working firearm, and is arrested.

At trial, he argues that it is not a firearm, but mere a model to make a lawful injection molded — with a stronger, Barium sulfate infused, fiber-filled polymer — firearm. And he presents as evidence the mold made with the 3D-printed parts…

…complete with metallic serial number plate and a metal insert to comply with the Undetectable Firearm Act.

Perhaps the model parts could even be assembled into a “firearm” that could get one shot off before blowing up. But they weren’t printed to be assembled other than to test for fit.

1. Is that collection of 3D-printed parts a firearm?

Now let’s take this a little further. What about the 3D printer files; the instruction set that tells the printer how to build the part. Those files got called munitions under ITAR, and Internet distribution got shut down. Then back up. Then the Trump administration moved to take them off the ITAR list altogether. The last I heard a judge in Washington state ordered an injunction against the change.

Rep. Douche [D-FL] is trying to moot the whole thing with H.R.3265 – 3D Printed Gun Safety Act of 2019, to

“(aa) It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally distribute, over the Internet or by means of the World Wide Web, digital instructions in the form of Computer Aided Design files or other code that can automatically program a 3-dimensional printer or similar device to produce a firearm or complete a firearm from an unfinished frame or receiver.”.

But now the file is an instruction set for a model, from which a mold can be made, which in turn is used to injection mold a federally compliant handgun.

2. Does this file dodge HR 3265?

These questions would also apply to polymer “80% frames” like plastic Glock-compatible kits.

Please discuss in comments below. Have fun.

If you found this post useful, please consider dropping something in my tip jar. I could really use the money, what with ISP bills, and general life expenses. And the rabbits need feed. Click here to donate via PayPal.
(More Tip Jar Options)

I prefer the unabridged edition

Dipstick Robert S. Lasnik, federal judge Western District of Washington, is an oath-breaking moron.

TL;DR: He blocked the public downloads of DefDist’s gun files — but only from DefDist’s web site (if I recall correctly, SCOTUS has previously ruled that courts can’t block the release of information already in the public domain). But it’s OK, because Lasnik only abridged rights (his own word).

Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech

Screw him.

And speaking of the public domain, just to be clear, those meme images are now in the public domain. Use them freely.

You might hit my Tip Jar if you like them.