Local News

NC mulls response to 3D-printed gun regulations approved by Trump Administration

Posted July 31, 2018 5:38 p.m. EDT
Updated July 31, 2018 5:51 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said the Tar Heel State is not among the states that have filed suit against the Trump Administration in an effort to stop the publication of the instructions for 3D-printed guns, but his office says he is looking into the issue.

Eight states are filing suit against the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas company to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun, contending the hard-to-trace plastic weapons are a boon to terrorists and criminals and threaten public safety.

The suit, filed Monday in Seattle, asks a judge to block the federal government's late-June settlement with Defense Distributed, which allowed the company to make the plans available online. Officials say that 1,000 people have already downloaded blueprints for AR-15 rifles.

Joining the suit were Democratic attorneys general in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia. Separately, attorneys general in 21 states urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to withdraw from the settlement with Defense Distributed, saying it "creates an imminent risk to public safety."

The review in North Carolina by Stein's office comes as local supporters and opponents are trying to rally support for their positions.

Opponents say they are terrified of the possibilities if someone can produce a working firearm simply by clicking File/Print.

"It's just like going into the store, walking in and walking out with a gun without any background check (or) without any serial number to trace," said Faisal Khan, founder of the Carolina Peace Center. "That to me is truly alarming and worrisome."

Khan argues that because 3D printed firearms are untraceable, he says lawmakers must step up.

"There needs to be provisions," he said. "There needs to be restrictions on that."

Grass Roots North Carolina is an organization that describes itself as the state's "only 'no-compromise' gun rights organization."

The group's president said in a written statement that they like the idea of 3D firearms.

"The recent decision on distribution of plans for 3D printed guns via the Internet is a victory for free speech and, quite likely, the death knell for the failed policies known as gun control," the statement said. "Perhaps now we can stop punishing law-abiding gun owners for the actions of criminals and focus on those who actually commit misdeeds." and focus on those who actually commit misdeeds."

The National Rifle Association also issued a statement

“Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3-D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms. Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years.  Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm.”

The Carolina Peace Center plans to hold a town hall on the issue next week. Khan says he will invite lawmakers to attend as well as the general public.