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Kaine Joins Colleagues To Introduce Bill To Block Publication Of 3D-Printed Gun Blueprints

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) and 20 of their Senate colleagues to introduce legislation that would block the online publication of blueprints that can be used to make fully functioning 3D-printed guns.

“3D-printed guns are a threat to public safety in our communities and a danger to our law enforcement officers,” Kaine said. “Our nation knows too well the pain of senseless gun violence. The last thing we need is another easy way for lethal weapons to get into the wrong hands, and Congress should act quickly to prevent that from happening.”   

The legislation the Senators introduced today would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally publish a digital file online that programs a 3D printer to automatically manufacture a firearm. The move comes just hours before the Trump Administration plans to allow people to start posting such blueprints online. 3D-printed plastic guns are fully-functioning firearms often made with resin or plastic using a 3D printer, making them virtually undetectable when carried through a metal detector or past security.

In August 2016, Transportation Security Administration agents at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport found and confiscated a plastic gun from a passenger’s carry-on bag during screening. The gun, assembled using a 3D printer, was found loaded with five live .22 caliber bullets. For years, the U.S. State Department has argued that allowing these blueprints for 3D-printed guns to be published online would violate federal export controls because the digital codes would help facilitate the manufacturing of weapons that can be accessed freely around the globe. Despite the State Department’s argument and a longstanding ban that has prohibited Americans from publishing such documents online, the Justice Department decided to abruptly settle a lawsuit earlier this month that will allow people to start posting blueprints for 3D-printed guns online starting Wednesday, August 1.

In addition to Kaine and Nelson, the legislation is cosponsored by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Tom Carper (D-DE) and Tina Smith (D-MN).

Text of the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act is available here.