Plastic guns made by 3-D printers: Should Congress impose a ban? (+video)
An online group is preparing to release plans for how to make a plastic gun with a 3-D printer. The gun could be built to be undetectable to airport screeners, leading to worries in Congress.
A new front is emerging in the debate over gun control in the United States, as some members of Congress seek to ban firearms that can be made through the technology of 3-D printing.
The technology opens the door for people to create guns, using plans downloaded from the Internet, that could elude detection in security screenings at places such as airports.
3-D printers are becoming increasingly common as tools for making three-dimensional objects out of plastic or similar materials, much the way a traditional printer applies ink to paper based on instructions from a computer.
Controversy about the technology’s use in making guns revved up in recent days, with a private group that dubs itself the “wiki weapon project” preparing to release plans for constructing a handgun that could be made almost entirely with pieces from a 3-D printer.
The gun can operate with 16 printed parts and one nonprinted component, an ordinary nail used as a firing pin. According to news reports, the gun also has a compartment to insert a six-ounce piece of steel – to make it visible in a metal detector, as required by the Undetectable Firearms Act.