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Old December 10, 2012, 01:09 AM   #1
Tom Servo
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1988 All Over Again - 3D printers

No, I'm not talking about Rick Astley or Perestroika. I'm talking about the Undetectable Firearms Act. The late 1980's were scary times. Full House was in its second season, Miami Vice was really getting stale, and the Austrians were making plastic guns, which as we all know, go right through airport metal detectors without a peep.

(OK, you might have to remove a few parts to do it. OK, you might have to remove almost all the parts to do it, but stop dragging us all down with reality. People are trying to panic, here.)

The ban expired in 1998, but the threat remained, so President Bush signed it back into law in 2003. It's in effect until next year.

That is, unless Representative Steve Israel gets his way. He's an A+ booster for the Brady Campaign, and he's got to do something to prove he's still one of the true believers, so he's trying to demonize 3d printing. At least two folks have made functional (but fragile) AR-15 lowers using the new machinery, and it looks like Israel's trying to work a ban on that into a proposed renewal of the UFA.

This is worth keeping an eye on. With the exception of making NFA items or cloning guns banned from import, the Gun Control Act does not prohibit someone from making their own gun. I expect to see some sort of attempt to generate paranoia about that in the media as the anti-gunners continue to grasp at straws.
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Old December 10, 2012, 09:10 AM   #2
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Oh, so that one got to GWB's desk? Good thing the AWB didn't.
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Old December 10, 2012, 02:09 PM   #3
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I don't see how this ban can feasably work. There are already several polymer receivers for a wide variety of guns out there and even polymer FCGs. And guns with those features are far from undetectable.
I just don't see how 3D printing can be specifically singled out for a ban. In order for this to work they would have to completely ban either polymer parts for firearms or private manufacture of guns. Neither of which is going to happen without a hell of a lot of resistance from gun rights groups.
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Old December 10, 2012, 07:28 PM   #4
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I doubt they are trying to write a feasible ban. In fact, I imagine they will write one that is nigh-impossible to enforce or implement. I suspect the main purpose of said legislation will be to demonize those who oppose it as supporting the ownership of invisible, undetectable assault weapon baby killers by violent felons.

They'll rely on the old trick of a soundbite that sounds horrible to the average person but that requires a 30 minute dissertation by someone knowledgable in order to understand how stupid the soundbite is.
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Old December 10, 2012, 08:08 PM   #5
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Like all of these laws, it'll be more in spirit than practicality. Then after one bad incident happens, they'll point to the law and strengthen it. It's not going to be bad, just a slippery slope of controlling the means of production.
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Old April 25, 2013, 04:12 PM   #6
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As an update to this old thread: Rep Steve Israel, D-NY 3rd District introduced bill HR1474 that would ban so called undetectable firearms, home made firearms with non metallic receivers, and home made plastic magazines. Factory all plastic receivers, like some injection molded AR-15 receivers, and magazines are unaffected.

The law has not been updated to reflect the increased sensitivity of modern metal detectors, does not take into account modern screening processes and technologies like x-rays, and does not consider how unenforceable it is with modern $600 3D printers becoming more popular. Also many details of compliance are quite vague.

By supporting home gun smiths the NRA could further discredit the ridiculous "industry shill" meme.

The www.examiner.com and Forbes have good articles about it. Defence distributed's forum DefCAD has all of the details.

More analysis from a group that worked with Israel to draft the bill: www.publicknowledge.org/blog

Rep Israel's web page links to many articles about this issue.

In 2003 it passed by a voice vote, and unanimous consent. It better not go that way this time.

Edit: A new article by the examiner shows that plastic magazine manufactures would need to get a manufacturing FFL if the magazine body does not contain at least an once of steel.

Rep Israel also proposed and then backed down from an internet crackdown to stop the proliferation of magazine CAD files.

Last edited by dustind; April 25, 2013 at 04:53 PM. Reason: New information
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Old April 25, 2013, 09:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Full House was in its second season, Miami Vice was really getting stale, and the Austrians were making plastic guns, which as we all know, go right through airport metal detectors without a peep.
Don't forget about the Glock-7, it was ceramic. (well that was 1990 but it still comes up from time to time).

You can make a functioning AR lower out of a block of wood or a hunk of plastic and an LPC. It will function for a little while anyway. I think these would be preferable to a 3D printer.
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Old April 26, 2013, 08:45 AM   #8
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Old November 14, 2013, 07:20 AM   #9
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Plastic guns, and the "Invisible" gun law set to expire.

While I understand part of the fear, ultimately, it boils down to the fact that if someone wants to go into a school, court house, bank *Insert gun free zone here* with such a weapon, and attempt to murder someone or many people, they're not going to give a flying rats arse if there is a law stating that they can't have a gun made out of all plastic parts in the first place.

Classic gun grabbing hysteria hyping.

Besides, these guns are single use only are they not? Any more than one round and the handgun would be more like to kill you.

*EDIT* My ignorance aside, and as it was stated later on here in this thread, I'd imagine a 100% plastic gun would more likely fall apart if it were to be fired more than a handful of times. Increased chance of hurting yourself possibly, maybe not exactly kill you.

At any rate, I don't see any major threat with these "firearms" with the current technology of plastics. Metal is still vastly superior in strength than plastics are at this time, unless I'm mistaken.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013...set-to-expire/

Last edited by Kimio; November 15, 2013 at 04:16 AM.
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Old November 14, 2013, 09:44 AM   #10
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Besides, these guns are single use only are they not? Any more than one round and the handgun would be more like to kill you.
Seriously? By what, an exploding .22LR cartridge?
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Old November 14, 2013, 09:55 AM   #11
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I wonder how well those plastic firing pins work and if it is melted to your hand and on fire after the first round.

Shumer was a key player in the original bill to ban guns that never existed. Maybe they should put more effort into fighting crimes where people actually are getting killed on a daily baisis instead of wasting all their time addressing crimes that do not exist.

Last edited by Vanya; November 16, 2013 at 11:08 PM. Reason: redacted invective.
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Old November 14, 2013, 11:15 AM   #12
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Apparently, Steve Israel introduced a renewal bill earlier this year. I haven't seen text for it yet.

The original Undetectable Firearms Act was signed into law in 1988, and renewed in 2003. It was originally drafted in reaction to the Glock pistols, which as we all know, go right through metal detectors without a peep.
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Old November 14, 2013, 12:25 PM   #13
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Seriously? By what, an exploding .22LR cartridge?
I could be incorrect, but if I remember correctly the original "Liberator" plans for this 3D printed thing call for it to be .380ACP. That's rather more powerful than a .22LR, but still hardly a manstopper.

Even if the gun lasts for more than one shot the reloading process is not quick (again, IIRC). The whole thing is more proof of concept than anything else. I'm just not thinking any plastic that can be run through a 3D printer is likely to ever stand up to significant chamber pressures... I highly doubt we'll ever see a fully functioning autoloader in a 9x19 or more powerful cartridge made from nothing but plastic. Not with any technology that's currently on the horizon.
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Old November 14, 2013, 01:45 PM   #14
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I think if I were going to make a "plastic gun", and if I had the skills to do this which I don't, I'd mill most of it, including the barrel out of Delrin.
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Old November 14, 2013, 05:07 PM   #15
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Purely plastic guns might be undetectable by metal detectors, but what about all the other detection devices in use these days?
Are metal detectors still the ones most encountered?
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Old November 15, 2013, 07:57 AM   #16
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Assuming that an all plastic gun could pass thru detectors, what about the ammo? I don't know of any all plastic ammo or did I miss a breakthru somewhere? A gun without ammo is not very effective. I guess it could shoot plastic darts?
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Old November 15, 2013, 09:38 PM   #17
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http://www.policeone.com/Gun-Legisla...daysTopStories

Goes over the basic points from a LEO viewpoint.

About ammo - you could come up with nonmetallic ammo if needed. I'll skip giving anyone ideas.

I think we had a thread (I started it) about such in Europe and some got about 5 shots out of one of these before failure.
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Old November 15, 2013, 10:30 PM   #18
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Even if the gun is plastic and undetectable where are you going to get plastic ammo?

Unless the ammo is hidden in something benign. This was done in an old Clint Eastwood movie. A BG (I think it was john malkovich) tried to shoot the president with a ceramic gun. The BG got through the metal detector with 2 live rounds hidden in a rabbits foot key chain.
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Old November 16, 2013, 02:14 PM   #19
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Fox news had a disappointing report on this today.

Showed a bunch of people using a printed lower on AR type uppers and went on and on about how the gun could go right through detectors. Also said that somebody was working on a plastic spring for a "clip" and made it sound like the end of the world. The guy being interviewed also went on about how we do not want people to be able to make guns in their garage and we need the law renewed to keep that illegal.

Very little of the report was in the realm of reality. Including the fact that people can make guns in there garage and it is not illegal.

The interviewer did almost nothing to address the inaccuracies and shortsighted view that was being put forth. He also helped make the guy that released the program to the net look like a cook.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old November 16, 2013, 02:19 PM   #20
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Even if the gun is plastic and undetectable where are you going to get plastic ammo?
You can buy plastic practice ammo. The case and projectile are plastic and it uses a primer for propellant. I think Midway has them on clearance now.

They are useless for anything but target practice in the basement and not much good for that. But it would not surprise me to see them on the news portrayed as an undetectable weapon of mass destruction.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old November 16, 2013, 09:43 PM   #21
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I was really hoping this would expire without any fan fair. No media group has reported on it for several months. In the last few days everyone has reported on it.

From an article in the Washington Post talking about Steve Israel's (D-NY) anti gun efforts:
Quote:
ATF officials, he said, have consulted on his measure, but it’s stuck in committee and its prospects appear dim. There is a similar effort in the Senate.
It seems like the big worry from politicians is assassins with plastic guns, not the possibility of this defeating gun control measures in general. Maybe they are just saying that to not undermine their political campaign.

Also from the article:
Quote:
But Israel, the New York congressman, is concerned.

He said he’s making a “last-ditch effort” to renew and update the law, which currently prohibits manufacturing or possessing a gun that can’t be detected by typical airport security scanners. Asked whether such a law mattered, given that it would not be able to control what someone built in their own garage, Israel said, “You could say that about drugs, about alcohol, about just about any law.”

“It would be unfathomable to me if we are not able to renew this law right now,” he said.
"Last ditch effort" that sounds promising.

The two bills are HR1474 and S1149

http://forums.defcad.com is where most of the 3D printed action is.
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Old November 16, 2013, 10:09 PM   #22
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The Senate bill has 3 co-sponsors, all of whom are usual suspects.

The House bill has 6. Only on of them (King) has any sort of clout. It's also worth noting that it hasn't picked up any in six months.
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Old November 16, 2013, 10:20 PM   #23
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I might be missing something but other than a general aversion to gun control laws I see the renewal as a non event.

My sticking point is how it is being tied to unrealistic aspects of 3D printing and being sold as a way to keep things illegal that are not presently illegal.

I think 3D printing is pretty cool and useful for quickly and cheaply producing 3D models of new products as a proof of concept. But, at this point, it does nothing in the gun world that can not be done with technology from the late 1800's combined with modern plastic and composite materials.
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Seams like once we the people give what, at the time, seams like a reasonable inch and "they" take the unreasonable mile we can only get that mile back one inch at a time.

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Old November 17, 2013, 12:04 PM   #24
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I got the following from a friend by E-mail. Seems like Chuckie is having invisible gun nightmares again. Sorry, he didn't give a link but it should be easy to check out. First three lines in quotation marks are my friends comments. Chuckie strikes again.
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"You can tell how frightened the politicians are by how soon they try to suppress new technology that might threaten them personally. Sort of like the French aristocracy trying to ban guillotines. Sweat, Chucky, sweat!"

Original article is here.
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Old November 17, 2013, 08:19 PM   #25
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Both NBC and CBS national news shows had a story.

Interesting point - some of the guns blew up on the first shot in ATF tests.

Next - the ATF rep that was interviewed mentioned that the gun had little sporting or hunting use. I agree BUT they still don't get the 2nd Amend. If he had said sports, hunting and SD - I might have more respect for them but it sounds like a political position.

Chucky says that they should be illegal as terrorists might use them. So how does banning possession do it? Oh, I think I will kill folks for my nutso cause. Oh, maybe not because the gun is illegal so I will not take it on the plane. That is the law.

You would have to ban and enforce a law against the printers in common usage.
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Last edited by Glenn E. Meyer; November 18, 2013 at 11:58 AM.
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