Healey: Printing guns is illegal and serious public safety risk

BOSTON (WHDH) - Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey issued a public safety notice Thursday, detailing the serious violations of creating 3-D-printed weapons.

After winning a federal court order blocking the Trump Administration from allowing the publication of plans for downloadable 3D-printed weapons, Healey joined law enforcement partners in issuing the notice, which is in response to a recent U.S. Department of State settlement that would allow the company Defense Distributed to post files online that enable individuals to print firearms using 3D printers.

“For years, the State Department correctly argued that making plans for 3D-printed guns available for anyone to download, including criminals and terrorists, would be a major threat to national security and public safety,” Healey said. “These 3D-printed weapons will be used to evade Massachusetts’ strong gun laws, and my office and our law enforcement partners will do everything we can to keep deadly homemade weapons off our streets and out of our schools.”

Officials said that the creation, transfer, or possession of a weapon made with a 3-D printer can subject an individual to serious criminal or civil liability under Massachusetts law.

According to the notice, the state laws potentially implicated by the creation of a weapon using 3-D printing include:

• Plastic Weapons: Weapons made exclusively from plastic or that otherwise cannot be detected by an x-ray machine or walk-through metal detector are unlawful, and cannot be sold, transferred, or possessed.

• License Requirement: An appropriate state-issued license is required to possess or carry a weapon; sell, rent, or lease a weapon; and possess or purchase ammunition.

• Reporting of Sales: Sales and other transfers of weapons must generally be reported to the Department of Criminal Justice Information Services by the transferee at the Massachusetts Gun Transaction Portal on the Internet, unless the weapon is purchased from a licensed dealer. The information required includes the caliber, make, and serial number of the weapon.

• Safety Requirements: Only firearms that are on the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s approved firearms roster may be sold. Currently, no firearms made with 3D printing technology are approved for sale in Massachusetts.

• Safe Storage: All weapons must be securely stored using a device approved by the Colonel of the State Police. There are enhanced penalties for weapons left unsecured around children.

• Assault Weapons: The sale, transfer, or possession of any “assault weapon” is prohibited. Any weapon that meets the definition of an “assault weapon” under Massachusetts law, whether made in whole or in part out of plastic, is prohibited.

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