Yee will offer bill to ban 3-D printable guns

Though a federal bill to criminalize the 3-D printing of guns or certain gun components is pending in Congress, at least one California lawmaker wants to get in on the action, too.

State Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, said he’ll introduce legislation to prohibit use of 3-D printers to create untraceable firearms.

“While I am as impressed as anyone with 3-D printing technology and I believe it has amazing possibilities, we must ensure that it is not used for the wrong purpose with potentially deadly consequences,” Yee said in a news release. “I plan to introduce legislation that will ensure public safety and stop the manufacturing of guns that are invisible to metal detectors and that can be easily made without a background check.”

LiberatorAs I reported late last month, 3-D printing technology eventually could change some of the fundamentals of the nation’s gun-policy debate. Although critics say the plastic parts created by such printers can’t withstand the heat and pressure of use in a firearm, Texas activist Cody Wilson in recent days has announced what he claims is the first fully-printed, fully-operational firearm.

“We must be proactive in seeking solutions to this new threat rather than wait for the inevitable tragedies this will make possible,” said Yee.

The Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 bans firearms that are invisible to metal detectors or airport X-ray machines. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., on April 10 introduced H.R. 1474 to renew and expand that law to include specific parts like those Wilson and his peers are producing.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.