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3-D guns? Not in NJ, lawmakers say

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New Jersey lawmakers and public officials are looking to block a Texas company from releasing schematics on Aug. 1 for 3-D-printed plastic firearms, information which could allow residents to manufacture fully functional, untraceable guns out of their own homes, including AR-15-style assault rifles.

Congressman Frank Pallone, D-6th District, on Friday unveiled legislation that would outlaw the production of 3D firearms.

And on Thursday, New Jersey Attorney Gurbir Grewal sent a cease-and-desist letter to Texas-based Defense Distributed Founder Cody Wilson demanding he stop “publishing printable-gun computer files for use by New Jersey residents,” or face “legal action.”

“The files you plan to publish offer individuals, including criminals, codes that they can use to create untraceable firearms – and even to make assault weapons that are illegal in my state,” Grewal wrote.

In 2013, the federal government sued Defense Distributed to stop them from publishing the 3-D schematics after Wilson posted a YouTube video of his first 3-D-printed plastic gun, a single-shot .380 caliber handgun dubbed “the Liberator.”

Following years of legal back-and-forth between the feds and Defense Distributed, the two ultimately reached a settlement earlier in 2018 that would allow for their publication.

“Given the gun violence epidemic plaguing our communities, the last thing our country needs is an unregulated and untraceable source of lethal firearms,” Pallone said.

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Daniel J. Munoz

Daniel J. Munoz


Daniel Munoz covers politics and state government for NJBIZ. You can contact him at dmunoz@njbiz.com.

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Gonzo Gomez July 27, 2018 3:18 pm

Lots of luck with that - unless NJ wants to emulate China and control the content on the internet that is available in NJ - and prevent NJ residents from leaving the state and returning with laptop hard drives or thumb drives containing contraband 3-D printing instructions - this is a losing battle. In an age where, for a decade, classic works like "how to build a bomb in the kitchen of your mom" have been freely available on the internet, 3-D schematics for plastic guns should be the least of our worries. I don't realistically expect that MS-13 membership in "maker labs" will start to soar if this information becomes available on-line; they'll still rely on Jorge on the corner for their next untraceable piece since, like most criminals who commit gun offenses, they tend not to be deterred from legal prohibitions on acquiring guns outside the government-approved channels.

rallo July 27, 2018 3:23 pm

Frank Pallone, a man who's VCR undoubtedly blinks 12:00 still to this day, understands nothing about 3D printing, technology, information, or firearms.

Hey Franklin, take a look at Universal City Studios, Inc. v. Reimerdes and let me know how you think your bill is going to work out. You can't make information that is publicly available illegal. Even if you really, really want to and you have a clean diaper.

Not to mention it's legal under federal and NJ law to manufacture your own firearms, assuming they are compliant in your state of residence, for your own personal and non-commercial use. Ask Evan Nappen Esq.

My question to Frank would be - how many shootings in the state of NJ were committed with "untraceable, ghost guns"?

Dollars to donuts that number is *zero*. But don't let that stop NJ from spending time and money chasing another phantom menace.

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