New York City has some of the toughest gun laws in the entire nation. It’s not surprising then to see lawmakers pushing for new laws regulating the creation of 3D printed firearms.
The New York Daily News reports that New York City Council member Lewis Fidler wants to regulate 3D printed guns in the city. Surprisingly, he’s not joining the chorus of lawmakers calling for a ban on 3D printed weapons. Instead, the new law applies current gunsmith laws to those who would want to make guns on a 3D printer.
The proposed law would require anybody making 3D printed weapons to own a gunsmith permit. It would also require that any 3D printed weapons made in the city have identification numbers on them for registration purposes.
Now, you may already see the main problem with this law – how do you enforce it? Will the NYPD keep a list of every 3D printer in the city? Will they be able to track every single 3D printed gun in the city? Will those making 3D printed guns even register their weapons with the city? These are all questions the law must answer, and there doesn’t seem to be much of an explanation yet.
One concern that’s unique to New York City with this proposed law is that Makerbot’s headquarters is located in the city. The company doesn’t allow weapons to be uploaded to its Thingiverse design repository, but will they able to police stuff made in their store? What if somebody comes in over the course of several weeks and just prints off one piece of the weapon to remain inconspicuous? Would Makerbot be held accountable? These are all questions that the city will have to answer if it decides to move ahead with this proposed law.