Lawmakers from New York City and New York State are already working on laws to regulate away a problem and ban a potential crisis that hasn't not existed yet. This early, lawmakers from both areas have presented bills to keep off 3D printed guns off the streets of New York.
Two different versions of legislation have been introduced by the New York city council as well as a state assemblywoman that seek either to just regulate or totally ban the manufacture of 3D-printed guns.
In a nutshell:
- The New York City bill wants to illegalize the production of any part of a firearm using a 3D printer unless they are licensed gunsmiths. Moreover, each weapon must be registered within 72 hours of manufacture with the police.
- The bill from New York State on the other hand altogether bans the manufacture, sale, or use of firearms and ammunition magazines made with 3D printers.
For New York City Council Member Lewis Fidler, who introduced the bill on Wednesday, regulation is a key essential for the 3D printing gun business.
"If left unregulated, these would be weapons without histories - potentially no identifying marks or sales histories," Mr Fidler told New York Daily News. "We wouldn't even know these weapons exist, until they were fired."
State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal highly believed "it can become dangerous if people start printing their own firearms and there is no regulation."
However, experts said the bills are too early shoot from the hip tools.
"At their very best, these pieces of legislation are preemptive, trying to future-proof the law against the inevitably better homemade guns of that will come with time. It's a bold move, but until home manufacture is cheaper than purchasing a gun off the black market, don't expect this legislation to save many lives, especially not with 310 million guns already in the U.S.," Kelsey D. Atherton wrote in Popular Science.
Cody Wilson, head of Defense Distributed, the company that created the world's first 3D printed handgun, said the legislation limits technological progress.
"These laws are exercises in containment - the containment of technical progress, necessary for its growth in the establishment's preferred direction. These NY lawmakers (And congressmen, don't forget there are companion bills in both the US House and Senate sponsored by Israel and Schumer) are defying the possibility of transcendence with strategies of containment. Progress, yes, but only at our direction and under our supervision," Mr Wilson told CBS Interactive. "Sorry, that's not how technology works."
"[There's] no constitutional problem banning manufacture, sale, possession of all plastic gun[s], just as [there's] no problem banning machine guns, hand grenades, greater than .50 calibre long guns," James Jacobs, a professor of constitutional law and a gun law expert at New York University, told Ars Technica.
"I'm sure [the New York state bill], or something like it, will pass. But the First Amendment will not permit banning posting software that would allow 'printing' such a weapon, just as we can't ban Al Qaeda literature on building pipe bombs."
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