As we reported last year, technology gurus say 3-D printing could be the biggest thing since the Internet, but Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) doesn't think that's necessarily a good ting.
Schumer says terrorists, felons and spousal abusers could use the new printing technology to make guns that would be detectable by metal detectors, allowing them to sneak their guns onto airplanes, into sporting events and courthouse.
"We’re facing a situation where anyone -- a felon, a terrorist -- can open a gun factory in their garage and the weapons they make will be undetectable. It’s stomach-churning," Schumer said at a news conference, according to WCBS 880. "Only metal part of the gun is the little firing pin and that is too small to be detected by metal detectors, for instance, when you go through an airport."
Schumer wants to renew a previous ban on undetectable weapons while adding a ban on plastic high-capacity magazines and specifically outlawing weapons made on 3-D printers.
The nonprofit group Defense Distributed recently built a 3-D handgun and said it would upload the plans for the gun to the Internet, Schumer said.
A gun expert last year used the technology to print a copy of a .22-caliber pistol that managed to fire real bullets. The maker of the duplicated gun used a 3-D printer to build the outside of the pistol, and combined it with metal parts on the inside, so it was capable of carrying and firing actual bullets.
The gun's owner, who goes by the username HaveBlue, fired over 200 rounds of ammunition with the cloned pistol, and said the gun held up just fine.
To make the weapon, HaveBlue used an older model 3-D printer (the Stratasys), and was able to create the necessary shell of the gun in a small amount of time for about $30, not including the metal parts he added.
Another kind of 3-D printer called The Contour Crafting is said to be able to print an entire house in about 20 hours.