Is It Legal to Print and Carry 3D Guns?
New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Defending Your Right to Print and use 3-D Guns
A 3D printer is a revolutionary piece of technology, and there is no denying that fact. It can print everything from a screwdriver to a replica of a human organ. One other thing it can do: Print guns.
Rapid advancements in technology have increased the efficiency of these printers and now they are sold on the consumer level for those who want to print items at home. While printing a 3D gun is technically legal, using it and carrying it may not be.
What is 3D Printing?
A 3D printer works with plastic to print a solid, three-dimensional object using a digital file uploaded to the printer. You will create a computer aided design using CAD or an animated software program. Then, you will create a blueprint of the object and separate it into digital cross-sections. From here, you can send the message to the printer to start recreating the object three-dimensionally.
A user does not need to have a lot of technical skill to create these items, either – in fact, just about anyone could create something using pre-made blueprints and a 3D printer.
The material of the 3D printer can vary, but may include polyurethane, metal, rubber, paper, or plastic. Most will use plastic, but there are newer models equipped to handle a variable amount of materials.
What are 3D Printed Firearms?
While it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, it is true that a firearm could be printed using a 3D printer. In fact, in May of 2013, a non-profit group released video footage of firing a gun that was printed using a 3D printer. It was known as the “Liberator,” and it was a single-shot pistol made from plastic.
Days after this firearm video was released, the federal government ordered the maker of the gun to remove their digital files. Before he had complied, the files had already been downloaded more than 100,000 times. There was also another website online that published their own plans for 3D printed guns.
Numerous other firearms have been successfully made using a 3D printer. The designs are becoming more sophisticated and unique. In fact, there has already been one printed and created using metal components, not plastic. With the help of the Internet, the makers of these guns are able to share their designs with other 3D printer owners online – making it easy for anyone to print a gun.
Is It Illegal?
The federal law does require that a person have a license if he or she is going to print or sell a 3D gun. The gun must also have a unique serial number that is registered with the local agency. Also, anyone purchasing a firearm must meet the criteria established for every type of gun sale – such as not being a convicted felon and passing a background check prior to purchase. While an individual doesn’t need a license to make a gun nor does it have to be registered, homemade guns may soon be the focus of regulation.
As of right now, the state of New Mexico does not have any regulation in place that specifically addresses the use of a homemade gun or printing one at home. But, that should not be considered an opportunity to make and use 3D guns. There are other applicable laws that could be applied to a person who is printing and distributing these guns from home.
Were You Arrested for Printing Your Own Handgun?
Regardless of the charge, you need to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away. The state may push for harsher penalties and throw as many applicable charges at you as they can to make an example. Schedule a consultation now with the defense team at New Mexico Criminal Law Offices at 505-375-4671 or request more information online.