Q: What is a 3-D-printed gun and how is it created?

A: The firearms are usually made out of ABS plastic – the stuff that Lego pieces are made of – and are created using special printers that can cost thousands of dollars. Unlike metal firearms with magazines that can usually hold several bullets, 3-D guns can hold a bullet or two and then must be manually reloaded. There is no mandate for licensing 3-D guns and they can be created without a serial number, making them untraceable by law enforcement.

Q: How did the debate over 3-D-printed guns begin?

A: In 2013, Cody Wilson, who owns Defense Distributed, posted plans online for creating a 3-D-printed handgun he called the Liberator. The blueprints were downloaded nearly 100,000 times in one week before the State Department under President Barack Obama ordered it be taken down, arguing it violated federal export laws because some of the blueprints were downloaded by people outside the U.S..

Q: What has the Trump administration said?

A: Not much. A decision to settle with Wilson’s company became public last week. But as lawsuits from several states have surfaced in recent days, President Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday offering this: “I am looking into 3-D plastic guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said in a video posted last week that 3-D-printed guns symbolize “freedom and innovation,” while noting there are already laws that unsuccessfully try to stop criminals from getting guns.

– Los Angeles Times

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