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.

  • GV Haste

    Though this is one of Yee’s areas of interest, this is simply way way too early to be writing up laws about such weapons and weapon construction.

    Like writing up complicated laws about air traffic right after seeing the Wright brother’s first 60 second flight.

    Give it a break Leland… Chill out, see what developes.
    Me thinks this man is running for a statewide office he will never win. His problem is not with issues, its that he has no personality. No charisma.

  • RR Senile Columnist

    Ditto GV. The mind reels at Yee’s responses to innovation. I bet he would have rejected X Ray machines on privacy grounds.

  • JohnW

    Ditto 1&2 Too early to intelligently address the matter, but there will be legitimate issues — for example, guns made of materials not detectable by airport scans.

  • Elwood

    ” Too early to intelligently address the matter”

    In Yee’s case, it may be too late.

  • Jason


    There are already federal laws in place which prohibit that.

  • Sniper

    What many of you idiot commenters fail to realize, is that in order to be used, firearms require ammunition. What is ammunition made out of? Typically brass and lead. In light of this, 3D printed guns are not completely undetectable because ammunition is metallic. Secondly, it is legal, and has been for many years, for someone to build their own firearms. As long as that firearm is kept for personal use and not sold or given away, it’s legal. When was the last time there was a report about a shooter using a home built AR15? The only regulated part of an AR15 is the lower receiver, which can be build using an 80% complete receiver without a background check and requires some milling.

  • Jeff

    The simpple facts are that Yee has no common sense. there is already a law outlawing weapons that can’t be detected by metal detectors. secondly is that if a person is planning a crime such as murder or transporting a weapon on a plane, they will certainly not care about a law saying they can’t print a weapon. These idiots will never understand that laws only stop those who choose to obey them and third is the fact that the technology is not yet there to make a gun cheep enough for the average crook to want. the printers that can do this cost much more than the fully built metal version.

  • Peter

    There is already a law on the books… Look up UNDETECTABLE FIREARMS ACT… I know, I know.. We need to make it MORE ILLEGAL.. Like double secret probation…..

  • John Perry

    While there is a law on the books to equally be ignored by any person seeking to make on for an illegal use, liberals cannot grasp that criminals don’t pay attention to them. The bill will likely be used to add more restrictions to other areas because the ONLY persons that actually obey laws are the very ones the nanny liberals are targeting: those that enjoy freedoms and commit no crimes.

  • None of your business

    Try and stop me Yee.

  • I really don’t think that Senator Yee takes the time to really find out what he is doing. Someone approaches him, and he takes their word for what they want, does not take the time to discuss it with the other side, to find out the real truth or even how the legislation will work. Even when he is discussing the bill, the lies come rolling out that have been told to him. SB9…was a thought brought to him by the ACLU, The Human Rights Watch and others. He made sure that this past year this legislation was past by dirty politics and lies. He took away the JUSTICE that the courts had given to Victim Survivors of Juvenile Killers in CA. Juveniles 16 to 18 who committed a brutal First Degree Murder with Special Circumstances, tried as an adult, could receive Life WITHOUT the Possibility of Parole (LWOP) or at the Judges choice, 25 to life. This legislation was not needed and was a waste of taxpayers money for over 6 years. He said that he was not taking way LWOP…but when you change without to WITH the possibility of parole, what else does it do. Thank you to Sen. Yee, Legislators who voted yes, and others who supported giving juvenile killers a second chance…our loved ones don’t get a second chance. Now he is taking away our safety with his gun legislation. The various gun legislation will not stop criminals.

  • Cletus O’Bannon

    I propose a bill that outlaws ignorant liberal democrats from being elected as they pose a dire threat to the freedom loving Americans!

  • Baddog357

    You should make a 3D print out of a giant dill-doe. And make the model. So he has to stand up in front of everyone holding it, and waving it around.

  • JohnW

    When I first heard about this, it reminded me of the movie, In the Line of Fire, where Clint Eastwood plays an aging Secret Service agent matching wits with John Malkovich playing a psycho out to kill POTUS. The character played by Malkovich builds a plastic composite pistol that was not detectable. The shape looked very similar to the 3D printer handgun. As I recall, he kept the bullet in a rabbit foot key chain that was placed on the scanner belt as he went through screening to enter the dining hall for a POTUS fundraiser speech.

    Strange how life sometimes imitates fiction and the other way around. Monday, shortly after news broke about the three kidnapped girls who escaped in Cleveland, the new Hawaii Five-O episode featured the discovered body of a young girl who had been kidnapped and missing for 10 years, just like the girls who escaped. The name of the real-life girl who made the 911 call was Amanda. The murdered girl in the TV show was also named Amanda.

  • JohnW

    I predict the NRA will find some way to rationalize a law banning or restricting the manufacture of 3D printer guns; unless, of course, they are produced by the “legitimate” gun manufacturers the NRA works for.

  • K Kong

    “Yee” must be Chinese for “dumbass.”

  • Andy

    lets get Leland Yee out of his office.

  • Just thinking out loud

    Lets see. Undetectable gun already illegal. Check. This law will be enforced how? Ummm …..ummmm…ummm…got nothing

  • OMG! Every time ANYTHING happens that involves Gun Control “anything”, some moron in the political world (seems to be in California more than anywhere else) jumps on the bandwagon and beats their drums . . .for what? To try to feather their own political nest and try like crazy to make a name for themselves! Yee . . . you just don’t get it. American Patriots don’t appreciate or need the likes of you trying to undo what we and our families have done to protect and keep the USA free since 1776. Get lost! We don’t need you or anyone that thinks or acts like you do in any sector of government in California, or anywhere else for that matter.

  • JohnW


    “American Patriot”

    “What we have done to…keep the USA free.”

    Seems a bit self-aggrandizing.

    If you don’t agree with the NRA, you need not apply for membership in the American Patriot or USA freedom keeper club. You belong to the “likes of you” club.

    “Likes of you” club includes such non-patriots as Congressman Mike Thompson, Vietnam vet and Purple Heart recipient; former President George Herbert Walker Bush, recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross; and the late Senator Daniel Inouye, rated ‘F” by the NRA but recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor.

    Hmmm. I wonder which makes one more of an American Patriot and freedom keeper, an ‘A’ rating from the NRA or the Medal of Honor? Of course, Inouye was a “Japanese-American.” So, he may not qualify as an “American Patriot” under any circumstances. Besides, he was missing a right arm on account of the war and probably couldn’t shoot a firearm anyway.

  • MichaelB


    Can we assume that you “agree” with politicians that want to gut/do not believe in the 2nd Amendment? Freedom is somehow “preserved” by eroding it?

    There’s nothing “patriotic” about what Yee and others like him are doing. Thompson claims he “supports” gun ownership but he’s out there promoting an “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazine” ban (for the law abiding) as a “solution” for violence. Bush Sr. banned the importation of “assault weapons” (for legal purchase) when he was in office. Why do you suppose Inouye received an “F” rating from the NRA? Because maybe he was a reliable “yes” vote/sponsor for every gun control measure his party and gun control groups put forward? He never opposed any of them? Does that sound “reasonable” or “middle of the road” to you?

    Hmmm. I wonder when you are going to wake up and figure out what gun control activists really want despite the media spin/favorable press coverage? Here’s a hint – it has nothing to do with “safety” or “training”.

  • JohnW

    @22 “Can we assume that you agree with politicians that want to gut/do not believe in the 2nd Amendment?”


    I may agree with some of the proposals but would not agree that they “gut the 2nd Amendment.” Based on comments made by Scalia in the Heller ruling, many of these proposals are very likely permitted under the 2nd Amendment. To the extent they are enacted, they will undoubtedly be challenged. To the extent the courts allow them, then we are arguing about policy disagreements, not the constitution.

    I just find it ironic that those who heroically bore arms to defend the country in time of war (Bush 41, Inouye, Thompson) could have their patriotism questioned by people demanding the right to carry loaded sidearms into Starbucks.

  • MichaelB


    The so called “assault weapons” and “high capacity magazine” ban is an obvious violation of the 2nd Amendment (which is a right, not a “need” for duck/deer hunting).

    There is nothing “reasonable” about it despite those promoting/supporting it. It only affects the law abiding (criminals will not comply), it has nothing to do with addressing/stopping potential people in prohibited categories from owning/using guns (felons, drug addicts, mentally ill) and it wasn’t effective when enacted earlier. But yet it somehow is “needed” for “prevention” reasons. Dianne Feinstein wanted legal owners to register these guns with the government or face criminal penalties. Exactly what is “reasonable” about that?

    Some of us are not buying the feel good left wing soft on crime belief system – “the fewer the guns, the better”.

    I can’t help it if Bush Sr. was persuaded by the media hype to sign on to it and/or was just afraid of losing votes in the next election over it. The others are members of a party whose leadership doesn’t support the individual right to bear arms so their position/votes in favor of it is not a surprise.

  • JohnW


    I agree with you that the authors of the Constitution did not write the Second Amendment so that people could go duck or deer hunting. Nor did they write it so people could shoot burglars (the basis for the Heller decision overruling the D.C. ban on handguns in the homes). Those were not issues in 1789. Nobody, not even the Brits, questioned the right to hunt or shoot in personal self-defense.

    Which raises the question. If they didn’t write the 2nd Amendment for hunting or personal self-defense, what did they write it for? I’m pretty sure it was because, absent a standing army, a well-regulated Militia was necessary to the security of a free state. But now we have a standing army, navy, air force, coast guard, national guard, state troopers and local police. Or, what Wayne LaPierre might call “jack-booted thugs.”

    That doesn’t mean people shouldn’t own firearms for either recreational or personal self-defense purposes. That would be stupid public policy and would never stand, even if there were no the Second Amendment. There are plenty of firearms in Canada, but no Second Amendment. But the notion that owning firearms has anything to do with patriotism or supporting the stated purpose of the Second Amendment is nonsense in my opinion, as is the notion that reasonable regulation for public safety undermines either the letter or spirit of the Second Amendment.