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Downloadable Guns


Downloadable Guns

What is the problem?

Downloadable guns, or 3-D printed guns, are serious threats to our communities. With a 3-D printer and access to the computer schematics, anyone can build an untraceable firearm without a background check.

Anyone can print their own firearm or the parts for the firearm with a commercially available 3-D printer. All they need is the computer code, a printer, and the plastic printing materials—no background check required. These plastic guns evade metal detectors and exist completely outside the federal firearms licensee system. This makes it easy for individuals to carry these firearms with them anywhere, any time.

The Trump administration should return downloadable guns to the Department of State’s U.S. Munitions List and ensure that the schematics for dangerous downloadable guns are not readily available online. Congress should also pass a law making it illegal for anyone to distribute the computer files for 3-D printing downloadable guns, including making it illegal to post them online. Congress should strengthen the law banning plastic firearms to cover recent designs that undermine the law. States should also take immediate steps to regulate 3-D printed guns and the plans necessary to make them.

Downloadable gun

Do-it-yourself, downloadable guns are incredibly dangerous.

A downloadable gun

Why is it an issue?

Downloadable guns are a threat to public safety.

Not only do plastic firearms easily pass through metal detectors, but these downloadable guns undermine laws that block gun access to domestic abusers and violent extremists. Downloadable guns allow people to own guns without undergoing a background check. This puts communities in danger. 3D-printed guns are “ghost guns.” They have no serial number. This makes it impossible for law enforcement to trace 3D-printed guns if they’re used in crimes. In other words, they’re a gun trafficker’s dream. While we don’t know how many 3-D guns are in circulation, we do know ghost guns as a whole comprise a significant proportion of the crime guns recovered by law enforcement. Without the right protections in place, downloadable guns will become an insidious source of violence in this nation.

By the numbers

You might be wondering…

  1. 1 Do plastic guns even work?
  2. 2 Are downloadable guns considered to be ghost guns?
  3. 3 Why did the Trump administration decide to move jurisdiction over downloadable guns away from the State Department?
  4. 4 Is there proof that people who are not allowed to have guns are printing guns?
  5. 5 Isn’t the technology for 3-D printing guns too expensive to pose a risk?
  6. 6 Are 3-D printed guns illegal?