Rep. Israel Says He's After the Result of 3D Printed Weapons, Not 3D Printing Itself

I noted this in my December article on the brouhaha over 3D printing of "WikiWeapons," but Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY), who targeted plastic 3D weapon printing at a press conference set at a airport security post in Long Island, goes on the record at length with Forbes about what he is, and isn't, trying to do. He swears he isn't targeting the printing technology, merely a certain set of its products.

From the interview--the bold are Forbes's questions:

And you’re not talking about some kind of digital rights management or other restrictions on 3D printers either?

Zero. We’re not going there. You want to download the blueprint, we’re not going near that. You want to buy a 3D printer and make something, buy a 3D printer and make something. But if you’re going to download a blueprint for a plastic weapon that can be brought onto an airplane, there’s a penalty to be paid.

Just for downloading it?

No, no, for actually manufacturing it. And we’re not even going after manufacturers, either, but lone wolves, individuals.

I just want to be clear. I’m not seeking to regulate or reduce the use of 3D printers at all. This isn’t about 3D printers. It’s about the use of a 3D printer to manufacture a weapon that can’t be detected by metal detectors....

Won’t the real sticking point for this law be its enforcement? The whole idea of Defense Distributed is that the production of these weapons is distributed to living rooms and garages around the country and there’s no centralized manufacturer to regulate....

There’s no one hundred percent guarantee of one hundred percent enforcement, and there’s never that guarantee with any law. What we’re trying to do is make it clear that if you choose to construct a weapon or weapon component using a 3D printer, and it’s homemade, you’ll be subject to penalties. It’s not a guarantee that everyone will be caught and prosecuted, but there has to be some penalty.....

One part of your legislation that you’ve emphasized a lot calls for a ban on the 3D printing of high-capacity magazines like the ones that Defense Distributed 3D-printed and tested in a video posted to YouTube over the last weekend. But there are lots of plastic magazines already for sale, and they’re not covered by the current Undetectable Firearms Act.

Right. We won’t go near those.

But isn’t it tough differentiate between 3D-printed plastic magazines and plastic magazines created and sold by the usual manufacturers.

....we’re talking to stakeholders, and working to create a distinction between that lone wolf and legitimate manufacturers of plastic clips. Plastic clips, I get that, I understand there’s an advantage to them. The law will not go near that. I confess this is going to require further conversations.

.....In 1988 when the Undetectable Firearms Act was passed, the thought of replicating a gun with a 3D printer was a Star Trek episode, when it lapsed in 1998, maybe it was possible on day. In 2003 when it was reauthorized, it seemed maybe, we’re close. Just in the past six months, six bullets were fired form a 3D-printed lower receiver and then 86 from a clip. So every week the technology gets faster, cheaper and more precise. And I just want to make sure we’re being proactive, and not having to explain why we didn’t act when something tragic happens.

That last statement of Israel's sums up sadly so much of the crummy legal processes of government that think acting with the motive of preventing tragedies covers a multitude of sins in logic, proportion, or constitutionality.

Reason on 3D weapon printing.

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  • Pro Libertate||

    I think the big issue with fabrication is going to be the IP for the designs. Sue everyone!

  • Tim||

    The AR's patent has long expired, no?

  • AlmightyJB||

    Oh yeah, everyone's making some variant.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I meant more generally. The code for any product, too, might be copyrightable in itself, beyond whatever IP protects the product.

  • Dweebston||

    Let's talk when we're printing 3D printers.

    Better yet, through a "feed", Diamond Age-style.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Oh, if a politician say don't worry, I sure won't!

    Er, wait a minute...how about "Fuck off, slaver" instead?

  • ||

    "I just want to be clear. I’m not seeking to regulate or reduce the use of 3D printers at all.

    ...Yet."

  • nicole||

    More like "Except..."

  • Tim||

    Can you make fake badges with these?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I wonder if you could have a 3D printer that uses Teflon as it's substrate? If so, you could make some really cool, custom fitted body armor.

  • AlmightyJB||

  • entropy||

    I don't know about Teflon, but bulletproof glass is often made out of composites of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), PC (polycarbonate), and acrylic.

    All of which are thermoplastics that can be printed with FDM printers.

  • Sevo||

    Since there's some question as to whether cops are actually human, you might be able to print fake cops.
    And maybe fake dogs for them to shoot at.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    This technology needs to be developed faster. The proletariat is capable of transmitting information, and manufacturing the tools of resistance quickly, and cheaply. The ruling class sees this technological shift, and they are trying to stomp it out.

  • Ken Shultz||

    So many people find freedom so terrifying.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Yeah, that is exactly it. i just can't grasp that mindset at all.

  • Hugh Akston||

    People sometimes do bad things with freedom. Unlike tightly controlled societies, where nothing bad every happens.

  • nicole||

    They're not afraid of freedom. Just WOLVES.

  • entropy||

    Lonely wolves!

  • Proprietist||

    I wonder if he realizes by decrying this loudly, he has encouraged gun advocates to create and distribute free designs for these.

    He really sounds like he knows he's swimming in a lake of his own doo doo, but he has to keep the pretense of "I'm genuinely trying to do something about this so after the next tragedy I am blameless."

  • Sevo||

    ..."I confess this is going to require further conversations."...

    Translation:
    'Don't ask me embarrassing questions! This was supposed to be a headline in the paper!'

  • Torontonian||

    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

  • Syd Henderson||

    Is he banning putting the blueprints online? If not, what's the first amendment issue.

  • Torontonian||

    Regardless of whether what comes out of your printer is 2D or 3D... it's still freedom of the press.

  • Sevo||

    Syd Henderson| 1.18.13 @ 4:23PM |#
    "Is he banning putting the blueprints online? If not, what's the first amendment issue."

    A little joke, right?

  • entropy||

    Lone wolf manufacturing?!? Scary!

    Where do these nutjobs get off, thinking they could just make something, for their own personal use, all by themselves, no license fees, no OSHA, just willy nilly! Insanity!

  • AlmightyJB||

    If you haven't already, go to Defense Distributed's website and download your 3D printer plans for AR 30 round mags while you can. They have a few other cool items as well.

  • Tim||

    How far from printing with metal are we?

  • entropy||

    10 years ago. The machines cost a lot more money but they already can print in metal, as well as ceramic.

  • AlmightyJB||

    You can do light metals with a Rapid Prototyping Machine

    http://www.rolanddga.com/solut....._Brief.pdf

  • John C. Randolph||

    There are already several metal printing processes, such as sintering powdered metal with a laser, and printing patterns that can then be used in conventional investment casting. I've also heard of experiments with printing molds directly using refractory clay.

    -jcr

  • DWC||

    Law makers are already looking for every possible way to control the internet and the free exchange of information. I'm certain they are desperate to get ahead of the curve with respect to people freely manufacturing whatever they want. The bottom line is that governments simply hate freedom and their entire purpose is to oppose freedom.

  • Zeb||

    So, is there actually an "undetectable gun" that can be made on a 3d printer, or only some parts? I have a hard time believing you could make a barrel that wouldn't explode in your face.

  • NeonCat||

    Parts. Clueless Congresscritter is clueless.

  • Zeb||

    That's what I thought. So pretty much the same silly hysteria as when people thought that plastic frame handguns were somehow "undetectable" back in the 80s.

  • Generic Stranger||

    Pretty much. They've yet to come up with a composite that can withstand the pressures generated when you fire a gun. Hence, every gun requires at minimum a metal barrel and bolt as well as a metal frame of some kind to control recoil.

    Plastic is pretty much only used for places where the pressures and recoil forces are minimal.

  • Gray Ghost||

    I wonder if you could get a ceramic that could withstand the loads? At least for a few shots or so.

  • Generic Stranger||

    It's been tried. It's just way too brittle. There's no guarantee it will last even a single round; it may, or it might blow up in your hand.

    And you'd still need steel for the firing pin, at the very least. Regular steel firing pins have problems with shattering if they're heat-treated wrong. Ceramic just wouldn't work.

  • nicole||

    Haha this was awesome, from the full interview:

    Mr. Wilson is trying to create drama where these is none. No one’s trying to interfere with people’s access to the internet. We’re just trying to make it more difficult for an individual to make a homemade gun in his or her basement.

    No drama here! No drama at all! Just no home gunsmithing!

  • Dylboz||

    Which is legal. I can legally build an AK out of a receiver flat and a parts kit already. Neither, when purchased, counts as a firearm according to the feds. Why is plastic some kind of game-changer?

  • Brendan||

    The plastic is the receiver, all the important parts are METAL and can easily been seen by metal detectors.

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Brendan,

    The plastic is the receiver, all the important parts are METAL and can easily been seen by metal detectors.


    Is the point to make an undetectable weapon, or just make all gun restriction laws totally irrelevant and moronic?

    I honestly don't care about the former, I do appreciate the latter much more.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    It's not about preventing the manufacturing of "undetectable" guns. It is about preventing individuals from making the tools of resistance, necessary to counter the total State.

  • OldMexican||

    That last statement of Israel's sums up sadly so much of the crummy legal processes of government that think acting with the motive of preventing tragedies covers a multitude of sins in logic, proportion, or constitutionality.


    Stop it! Can't you see you're making poor Tony cry?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Jesus, another one? You know what, fuck all these assholes. You know they're suddenly into all this shit so they can ignore the fact that this country is 16 trillion in debt, turning into a full fledged welfare state, and steadily sliding into an economic abyss.

    SQUIRREL! SQUIRREL! SQUIRREL!

  • OldMexican||

    [...] we're talking to stakeholders [???], and working to create a distinction between that lone wolf and legitimate manufacturers of plastic clips.


    We represent,
    The Lollipop Guild!
    The Lollipop Guild!
    The Lollipop Guild!

    So all this dog and pony show is nothing more than a cover for simple and crass protectionism. Am I surprised? Gwon, ask me if I'm surprised! See me? I'm surprised.

  • OldMexican||

    By the way, Bob Beckel confirmed yesterday on "The Five" that he wants all handguns taken from the citizenry.

  • Redmanfms||

    By the way, Bob Beckel confirmed yesterday on "The Five" that he wants all handguns taken from the citizenry.

    Yet according to shitheels like him and Spaces, gun owners are paranoiacs for believing they are coming after their guns.

  • Dylboz||

    Even if you could make an undetectable plastic gun free of metal (you can't. CAN. NOT.) the bullets would still be made of lead, brass, copper and steel. This is a stupid, stupid idea, solving a problem that doesn't exist.

  • IceTrey||

    Sure you can. Get a piece of a sturdy plastic bar stock. Drill a narrow hole down the center. Drill a tap hole. Use say a .22 caliber ceramic projectile. Some powder. Presto.

  • waaminn||

    Dude I totally want one of those 3D printers!

    www.anon-elite.tk

  • Hyperion||

    Here's where these statists are going to run into trouble, and why they are going to fail with this. Now do not get me wrong, they are going to try, and try damn hard.

    I frequent a lot of tech sites. I work in a research org, and although I am only a lowly software engineer, I am very interested in technology, especially things like this, nanotech, bio-engineering and other cutting edge stuff.

    Ok, anyway, here is their problem. If they think that only anarchists libertarians are into this kind of thing and don't want to see it banned, they are way off. There is a big trend towards what this guy might consider 'lone wolves' doing their own research outside of any organization in basements, garages, etc. Even a majority of liberals do not want to see the government sticking their noses into this. There is no way, in the end, that they are going to be able to control the rapid explosion of technology and keep it strictly under their control. They may as well start building the prison camps now and locking us all up so that they can control our every move, or they are going to lose control of tech like 3D printing.

    Just about all those who claim to be libs that I talk to about things like this, want to see 3D printing as the way of the future, with anyone having access to anything that they want to print.

  • Sevo||

    "Even a majority of liberals do not want to see the government sticking their noses into this."
    As soon as this approach makes things or develops a culture that in any way threatens the shitheads of the world, this will change in an instant.
    Right now, it's lips service, since nothing is at yet at stake.
    Se, oh, fraking.

  • Hyperion||

    The difference, Sev, is that I am talking about mostly younger people that are into tech. I can't talk politics with them much, because, well, on politics they are mostly retarded. And they go on with the typical anti-korporashun non-sense that is typical of young so called liberals. But that is also one aspect that they love about the ideas of 3D printers. They see it as eliminating or greatly reducing evil corporations.

    Just noting what I am hearing first hand. Sure the old fucktard statist in our government will want to ban this. They want to ban every fucking thing. But doing so, in this regard, is going to be very unpopular across the political spectrum.

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