Enough is Enough: Congress must pass legislation to explicitly ban 3D guns
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In our country, we have a gun epidemic, as evidenced by the plague of mass shootings which garner national media attention, and the daily, drumbeat of gun violence which plagues our communities and neighborhoods.  The numbers do not lie and increase by the day. The worst mass shooting in modern American history happened just last October, when a lone gunman killed 58 innocent concertgoers and injured more than 420 others with a modified assault rifle. By May 2018, there were 28 elementary and secondary school shootings, resulting in 40 deaths and 66 injuries. The mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School claimed the lives of 14 students and three teachers. At Santa Fe High School, in Texas, 10 people—eight students and two teachers—were fatally shot and 13 others were wounded. In all, more than 215,000 students have been affected by gun violence since the Columbine massacre occurred in 1999. More schoolchildren have died in school shootings than in active combat zones.

Against this backdrop the current administration cleared the way for the publication of instructions so that any individual—irrespective of prior criminal history, ties to terrorism, or concerns about mental health—can print instructions, assemble the parts and have at the ready a firearm capable of inflicting death. The logical inference to be drawn is that the Trump administration believes that people who are unable to pass a background check—like terrorists, convicted felons, and domestic abusers—should be able to print a gun out of the same type of plastic used to make LEGO building blocks without any attached serial numbers to make it traceable. This means that violent, unstable potential criminals will be able to bypass our safeguards against obtaining firearms and to acquire weapons that authorities cannot possibly detect with metal detectors or track through serial numbers.


It was not always this way. Past Congresses have acted with aplomb and purpose when it comes to enacting sensible legislation to address 3D guns. In 1988, Congress passed the Undetectable Firearms Act which proscribed guns that lacked a quantum of metal, and otherwise could not be detected by metal detectors. The bill was subsequently renewed many times, but lapsed in 2013. At that time, plans to upload blueprints for 3D guns proceeded, but were halted by the administration of Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama attends UNC-Duke basketball game Obama, Steph Curry team up to tell young men of color: 'You matter' The Memo: Bernie Sanders’s WH launch sharpens ‘socialist’ question MORE who challenged them under international arms controls regulations. Five years later, this current administration thought it fit to release the plans for these do-it-yourself weapons. Yet, the answer to this senseless gun violence is not more guns—especially not those that are undetectable, untraceable and indiscriminately available. While a federal court in Seattle has temporarily halted this practice, it is time for Congress to pass legislation codifying the prohibition against these weapons. 

This is why I will be introducing legislation designed to explicitly ban 3D gunsThe legislation I will introduce will confront the proliferation of these types of weapons on two fronts: first, it will extend the current statutory prohibition on untraceable guns (guns without manufacturers’ serial numbers) to expressly include 3D-printed guns that, by definition do not have manufacturers’ serial numbers; and, second, the bill would proscribe the creation of these 3D guns.

This is an inflection point for our nation. This call to prevent the spread of firearms is echoed by members of the law enforcement community, who recognize the harms which would be inflicted on the community as well as those tasked to protect and serve if we let 3-D guns infiltrate our community. In the face of unspeakable and regular mass shooting incidents, we should be acting to stem the tide of gun violence rather than facilitating the proliferation of firearms. This is the only way to bring a modicum of normalcy to communities. For the safety of our community and our law enforcement, I urge all persons of goodwill across the spectrum to coalesce around the goal to stop the spread of these weapons and say “enough is enough.”

Jackson Lee represents the 18th District of Texas and is a member of the Judiciary Committee.