First, an apology for the lack of posts! We’ll get back to talking 3D printing IP issues very shortly.
But today, Forbes ran a story about how U.S. Rep. Steve Israel is actually trying to expand the coverage of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 to capture new homemade weapons, such as 3D printed guns. The law is set to expire this year, and Israel’s previous efforts centered mainly around renewal. In our last post, we mentioned a few of the reasons that a renewed Undetectable Firearms Act might not quite capture 3D printed guns. The new bill seeks to “extend the ban to undetectable firearm receivers and undetectable ammunition magazines,” in other words, the areas in which Defense Distributed has thus far had the most success with 3D printed firearms.
As a bit of history to put this in context, it’s worth remembering that the original version of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 (originally introduced as the Terrorist Firearms Act of 1988) was a simple prohibition on plastic firearms, defined as firearms contained less than 3.7 ounces of metal and being undetectable by X-Ray security. By the time the bill became law, it contained numerous exemptions, including the “licensed manufacturer” exemption currently being exploited by Defense Distributed.