3D Printed Firearms, Do‐It‐Yourself Guns & The Second Amendment

20 Pages Posted: 18 Jul 2016 Last revised: 15 May 2017

James Jacobs

New York University School of Law

Alex Haberman

Fordham University, School of Law, Students

Date Written: July 18, 2016

Abstract

Cory Wilson's demonstration of a a functional 3D-printed firearm attracted enormous media attention and calls for Congressional (and state) action to prohibit manufacture of guns that evade metal detectors and, lacking serial numbers, are untraceable. Moreover, 3-D firearms makers would avoid background checking. The Obama Administration banned Wilson's software from the Internet, thus sparking a statutory and constitutional (First and Second Amendment) challenge. This Article explains the litigation and assesses the Second Amendment arguments, while placing the 3-D printed firearms controversy in the context of the U.S.'s long history of unregulated personal gunsmithing. The authors see no constitutional impediment to regulating or prohibiting 3-D printed firearms, but illuminate the implementation and enforcement problems. Any regulatory scheme should encompass all gunsmithing technologies, not just 3-D printing.

Suggested Citation

Jacobs, James and Haberman, Alex, 3D Printed Firearms, Do‐It‐Yourself Guns & The Second Amendment (July 18, 2016). Law and Contemporary Problems, Forthcoming; NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 16-27. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2811226

James B. Jacobs (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

Alex Haberman

Fordham University, School of Law, Students ( email )

New York, NY
United States

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