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U.S. Senator Slams Use Of 3D Printer-Made Plastic Guns

posted 6 May 2013, 12:38 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 6 May 2013, 12:39 ]

Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York says the use of 3D printers in the manufacture of plastic guns is "stomach churning".

NEW, YORK, NEW YORKUNITED STATES (MAY 5) (NBC) -  Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York slammed the use of 3D printers in the manufacture of plastic guns on Sunday (May 5), calling the idea "stomach churning".

Schumer told reporters the technology allows anyone to easily produce plastic guns with little more than a printer and an Internet connection.

"We're facing a situation where anyone, a felon, a terrorist, can open a gun factory in their garage and the weapons they make will be undetectable. It's stomach churning," Schumer said.

Schumer, who was instrumental in introducing wide sweeping gun reform measures that failed to pass in the U.S. Congress several weeks ago, said he would introduce new legislation that would outlaw 3D printing technology for making weapons.

He said the bill would not restrict 3D printers for other manufacturing uses.

3D printers use a process called additive manufacturing to make objects from a digital model by laying down layers of material. Today's affordable 3D printers are used to churn out simple items such as key chains and Legos.

Schumer displayed for reporters on Sunday a photo of a plastic gun called the Liberator which is made by a non-profit Texas company called Defense Distributed, using a 3D printer.

Last week Defense Distributed said it had successfully fired bullets from a 3D printed weapon for the first time and planned to put the instructions online this week.

In February, the company announced it had successfully created a downloadable blueprint to replicate an AR-15 receiver, a part of a semi-automatic gun that is capable of firing hundreds of rounds of ammunition, using 3D printing technology.

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson said at the time that the new technology means users can download instructions for weapons components that ordinarily require legal permission to own.

"We will have the reality of a weapons system that can be printed out from your desk. anywhere there's a computer, there's a weapon," Wilson said in an online video statement.

On Monday (May 6), instructions for the Liberator were available for download as a zip file on the company's website.