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LA Council Considers Criminalizing 3D Guns

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) – The Los Angeles City Council is considering legislation which would make it illegal to post instructions for making a 3D gun or possess one.

3D gun
A 3D printed gun, called the "Liberator", is seen in a factory in Austin, Texas on Aug. 1, 2018. (KELLY WEST/AFP/Getty Images)

Councilman Mitch Englander Friday introduced a motion with would make possessing, downloading or distributing a blueprint for 3D firearm a misdemeanor in the city of L.A.

He also introduced a resolution which would make it a felony under state law.

"With the emergence of technology expanding the accessibility of such weapons it is important that policy makers craft legislation to counter these emerging threats," Englander said in a statement.

Englander argues that under the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988, it is illegal to manufacture or possess a gun which is undetectable by a metal detector. Since 3D guns can be made from plastic material, they would also be undetectable.

This comes as California is among several states suing the Trump administration to dissolve a settlement it reached with a company that wants to post instructions online for making 3D-printed firearms that are hard to trace and detect.

Attorneys general from 19 states, plus the District of Columbia, filed an amended complaint Friday asking a judge make it illegal to share plans on creating printable plastic weapons.

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik blocked the plans from being released until Aug. 28. He has scheduled an Aug. 21 hearing on the states' request to reverse the U.S. State Department's agreement with Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed.

The settlement jeopardizes states' ability to enforce gun laws, including background checks, and puts public safety at risk, the complaint said. The availability of plastic guns threatens safety in prisons and jails and makes air travel more susceptible to terrorist attacks, the states said.

"The states and the District of Columbia have a clear and reasonable fear that the proliferation of untraceable, undetectable weapons will enable convicted felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill, and others who should not have access to firearms to acquire and use them," Lasnik said in his temporary order Tuesday.

Defense Distributed owner Cody Wilson, a self-described "crypto-anarchist," has said "governments should live in fear of their citizenry." His company seeks to make guns accessible to everyone, making "meaningful gun regulation impossible," according to the complaint.

Wilson's lawyer, Josh Blackman, told The Associated Press on Friday that they are "still considering our options" but did not elaborate.

He told the judge this week that the safety risks claimed by the states is "largely exaggerated" because many of the files are already online.

The expanded lawsuit comes as a group of congressional Democrats introduced legislation that would block online instructions for 3D-printed guns, which are largely undetectable at security checkpoints, according a statement released Friday by U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, Brad Schneider of Illinois and Carolyn Maloney of New York.

Another measure introduced this week requires plastic guns to have serial numbers and enough metal to make them visible on screening machines.

President Donald Trump has questioned whether his administration should have agreed to allow the plans to be posted online, tweeting Tuesday that the idea "doesn't seem to make much sense!"

Since then, he has been largely silent on the issue.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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