Contact: Eben Burnham-Snyder, Rep. Ed Markey, 202-225-2836 

New technology allows 3D printing of guns capable of evading metal detectors; Gun safety advocates join Cong. Markey in raising questions

WASHINGTON (May 8, 2013) – Following the creation and successful testing of a plastic gun created with a 3D printer, Congressman Ed Markey (D-Mass.) asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives how the agency intends to deal with the emerging technology and the threat it poses to public safety. A Texas gun maker used a 3D printer to manufacture the plastic firearm, whose only metal components were a nail firing pin and a metal shank necessary to ensure compliance with federal law. The blueprints for this new weapon are publically available on the Internet.

In his letter to ATF, which is available HERE, Cong. Markey raises concerns that individuals could use the blueprints made available by the company Defense Distributed to manufacture guns in their home that will not adhere to current regulations for firearms. By omitting elements like a metal shank, these weapons could pass undetected through metal detectors and x-ray machines at airports, secure buildings, and schools.

“We just saw with the Boston bombings how homemade devices can wreak incredible havoc. These homemade, stealth firearms could pose new threats to law enforcement, American citizens, and children across our country,” said Cong. Markey. “ATF needs to take a hard look at this emerging technology, and whether distributing the schematics to print these firearms is a blueprint for another tragedy.”

Cong. Markey’s concerns were echoed today by leading gun safety advocates.

“It’s critical that law enforcement anticipate the rapid changes in firearm technology and plan ahead in order to protect public safety. Other than terrorists and criminals, it serves no one’s interest to allow unrestricted access to this undetectable plastic gun technology without regulation,” said John Rosenthal, the founder of Stop Handgun Violence and a gun owner himself.

"We can't allow technology to outpace public safety. We need to ensure that federal agencies charged with enforcing our nation's gun laws are prepared for new technology that could put guns in the hands of criminals and terrorists.  Representative Markey is to be commended for leading on this emerging issue,” said Kristen Rand, Legislative Director for the Violence Policy Center.

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