RI lawmakers introduce bill to outlaw 3-D-printed plastic guns


    A 3-D-printed gun. (Marisa Vasquez/MGN)

    At least three Southern New England lawmakers are looking to ban the 3-D printing of plastic guns.

    Democratic Reps. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts and David Cicilline of Rhode Island plan to introduce legislation prohibit the manufacture or possession of 3-D-printed guns.

    President Donald Trump's administration moved earlier this month to allow Defense Distributed, a Texas company to post designs for the guns online, but an eleventh-hour restraining order handed down from a federal judge Tuesday evening stopped the website -- for now.

    Cicilline and Moulton, along with Sen. Cynthia Coyne, who oversees Barrington, Bristol and East Providence, said the plastic weapons would elude detection at most security checkpoints.

    “The judge has recognized that this is a very important concerning issue and that we need to pause and listen to clearly our federal delegation, our state delegation and all the advocates who want common sense gun control,” Coyne, who also plans to introduce legislation on the matter, told NBC 10 News.

    Moulton, a former U.S. Marine, said access to guns made by 3-D printers is a "dangerous step in the wrong direction," while Cicilline called it a "disaster waiting to happen."

    Cody Wilson founded Defense Distributed, a “non-profit, private defense firm principally engaged in the research, design, development, and manufacture of products and services for the benefit of the American rifleman.”

    Wilson’s website includes blueprints that show users how to manufacture a 3-D plastic gun.

    “As long as you have the right to bear arms, you have the right to make them,” Wilson said.

    But many people are concerned the blueprints allow the public to easily download step-by-step instructions to manufacture plastic guns. They would need a 3D printer to get started and wouldn’t have necessarily have much oversight on weapon production.

    When NBC 10 News looked at the website, some blueprints had already been downloaded by the thousands.

    Meanwhile, in a statement, Attorney General Kilmartin said he is evaluating Rhode Island-specific standing to properly join the lawsuit and coordinating on how to best to stop Defense Distributed from posting downloadable guns online that can be created using 3D printer technology.

    “There is no question that this will lead to the mass proliferation of illegal and untraceable firearms by any individual or group with access to a 3-D printer after which these weapons will inevitably end up in the hands of those who should not and cannot legally possess firearms,” Kilmartin noted in the release. “This is a matter of great public safety and security and it is unsettling that the Department of Justice would disregard its own long-standing policy, paving the way for unfettered access to deadly weapons with zero regulation or precautions. We will pick up where the federal government failed and move to stop the distribution of these gun designs before it is too late.”

    Eight states, including Connecticut and Massachusetts, filed suit Monday against the Trump administration to block publication of downloadable blueprints for a 3-D-printed gun.

    (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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