Senate

Senate Dems introduce bill to block release of 3D printed gun blueprints

Senate Democrats introduced legislation on Tuesday to prohibit blueprints for 3D printed guns from being posted online. 

The legislation, spearheaded by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), comes as Defense Distributed is planning to publish digital blueprints on its website at midnight. Some of the blueprints, though, are already available online.

The Democratic legislation would make it illegal to publish with intent a digital file that programs a 3D printer to manufacture a firearm. 

"These 3D-printed plastic firearms can evade our detection systems and are a direct threat to our national security," Nelson told reporters during a press conference. "And we are going to let these go up on the internet tonight at midnight?"

In addition to legislation banning the publishing of 3D printed gun blueprints, Democrats have also introduced legislation to ban "ghost guns" by requiring at least one main component in a gun be made of metal and for the gun to have a serial number. 

But it's unlikely that Congress will take action before the midnight deadline. 

Democrats, instead, used Tuesday's press conference to urge President Trump to intervene before the deadline. 

Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) called the 3D printed guns the "ultimate gun loophole." 

"It doesn't make any sense ... that your Justice Department and your State Department agreed to make 3D guns available to the public," he added. 

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) picked up a poster comparing a gun and a 3D printed gun adding: "Coming to a theater near you. Coming to a school near you."

"These ghost guns are a menace. The failure to ban them will mean blood on the hands of officials who have that responsibility. I call on the Trump administration now to do the right thing," he said.

Trump said in a tweet earlier Tuesday that he was "looking into" 3D printed guns. 

"I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public," he said in a tweet. "Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!"

The administration has come under criticism for settling with a gun rights activist last month over the distribution of 3D firearm blueprints. Defense Distributed sued the government in 2015 after the State Department forced all instruction manuals to be removed from the internet.

Several states filed a lawsuit on Monday to block the Trump administration from allowing criminals and terrorists to access downloadable plans for 3D printed weapons that are untraceable and undetectable.

Though the House is out of town until September, Reps. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.) and Houes Democratic Policy and Communications Committee co-chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) planned to introduce a bill during Tuesday's pro forma session to prohibit the manufacturing or possession of a 3D printed gun that's made of plastic. 

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