Featured: The Liberator is a physible, 3D-printable single shot handgun, the first such printable firearm design made widely available online. Physible means data object that is able, and feasible, to become a physical object using an additive manufacturing process such as with a 3D printer.
Photograph Courtesy WIKIPEDIA
While supporting 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, Rep. Canales wants Texas to protect citizens from terrorists and criminals who are now able to use 3-D printers to secretly build “ghost” guns
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
With the high-technology of 3-D printers quickly becoming more easily affordable, terrorists and other violent criminals might soon be able to build deadly 3-D handguns at home, without the knowledge of law enforcement and without having to pass background tests designed to protect innocent people, says Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.
To help reduce those threats, Canales, himself a dedicated gun owner, is proposing action by the Texas Legislature when state lawmakers return in January 2019 to deal with the problems of 3-D handguns, also known as “ghost” guns because they are difficult to track down or detect.
“I am drafting legislation to create sensible regulations around 3-D printed guns in Texas. I am a gun owner and a 2nd Amendment supporter, but I am concerned about convicted felons, terrorists, and domestic abusers having access to untraceable guns,” said Canales. “I had some conversations with law enforcement throughout the state, and we are concerned that 3-D guns will make it more difficult to trace weapons found at murder scenes and these guns might not set off metal detectors, making it easier to bring guns into airports and other secure areas.”
In his editorial, published in the New York Times on July 17, 2018, former U.S. Congressman Steve Israel, D-Long Island (2001 – 2017) provided a good explanation about 3-D guns, and the many problems they are bringing.
“In 1988, plastic guns were science fiction. In 2013, they were reality,” Israel recalled. “Printing with 3-D technology allows someone to produce a fully functioning plastic firearm almost anywhere. All you need is an inexpensive printer purchased online or at the neighborhood office supply store and a downloadable file. The result: a lethal firearm that almost anyone can make and is difficult to identify with X-ray technology and metal detectors.”
Canales adds another issue that is particular to the Texas border with Mexico.
“I believe that drug cartels along the Texas/Mexico border and other criminal gangs across this country will look at adding these untraceable guns to their arsenals.The technology is not quite there yet, but in the next few years the guns have the propensity to unleash greater violence in communities across the nation. I am extremely concerned about who has access to firearms and the lives that might be lost when we give more access to these guns,” the House District 40 state representative notes.
Other concerns raised by law enforcement leaders include 3-D-printed guns do not require much skill or training; anyone can produce their own gun with ease if they have access to a 3-D printer, and it would also allow people who might otherwise fail a background check to possess a gun, like convicted felons or domestic abusers.
As he continues to shape his proposed legislation dealing with 3-D guns, Canales is including the following protections for Texas citizens in his pending proposal:
• 3-D printed guns would have to be registered with Texas Department of Public Safety within a certain period of time;
• Individuals who create 3-D guns would have to first pass a criminal background check; and
• A serial number imprinted on steel attached to the gun would be required, which would allow for detection by metal detector, and also it would help law enforcement officials to track the owner if it is found at a crime scene.
In California, that state’s Legislature recently passed, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed into a law, a measure
requiring makers of 3-D printed guns and other homemade firearms to apply for an official serial number from the Department of Justice, a process which requires a background check, according to 3-D Printing Industry.
That new California law includes the following highlights:
• Existing law authorizes the Department of Justice to assign a distinguishing number or mark of identification to any firearm whenever the firearm lacks a manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification, or whenever the manufacturer’s number or other mark of identification or distinguishing number or mark assigned by the department has been destroyed or obliterated.
• The new California law, commencing July 1, 2018, and subject to exceptions, requires a person who manufactures or assembles a firearm to first apply to the department for a unique serial number or other identifying mark, as provided.
• The new California law would, by January 1, 2019, and subject to exceptions, requires any person who, as of July 1, 2018, owns a firearm that does not bear a serial number to likewise apply to the department for a unique serial number or other mark of identification.
• The new California law, except as provided, prohibits the sale or transfer of ownership of a firearm manufactured or assembled pursuant to these provisions.
• The new California law prohibits a person from aiding in the manufacture or assembly of a firearm by a person who is prohibited from possessing a firearm.
• The new California law makes a violation of these provisions a misdemeanor.
Additional information on the 3-D Gun issue is available online on many different sources, including an article published on July 29, 2018 by PBS News Hour, titled “3D-printed guns could soon pose challenge to regulators” (https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/3d-printed-guns-could-soon-pose-challenge-to-regulators).
Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, represents House District 40 in Hidalgo County, which includes portions or all of Edinburg, Elsa, Faysville, La Blanca, Linn, Lópezville, McAllen, Pharr and Weslaco. He may be reached at his House District Office in Edinburg at (956) 383-0860 or at the Capitol at (512) 463-0426.