New York to propose legislation criminalizing printing ghost guns at home

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(NEW YORK) — New York will try to make it a crime to print a gun at home.

Lawmakers are responding to a surge in gun crimes committed with untraceable firearms, known as ghost guns, increasingly being created using a 3D printer.

“You can sit at your kitchen table and print out weapons of destruction,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said Friday during a visit with reporters.

Under current New York law, someone who possesses or distributes a 3D printed gun can be charged with a misdemeanor. A proposed new law would make it a felony to manufacture a gun using a 3D printer.

The goal is to “attack the manufacture” of these kinds of weapons, which can be printed for a fraction of the cost of buying a traditional firearm, said State Senator Brad Hoylman, a sponsor.

The necessary components to create a fully functional 3D printed gun cost about $150 dollars, according to the NYPD.

“We have individuals who that are printing silencers, they’re printing magazines for AR’s and AR-type rifles,” said NYPD Inspector Courtney Nilan.

According to the NYPD, there has been a 75% increase in ghost gun seizures in the past year. 20 ghost guns have been recovered at the scenes of homicides or shootings just in Manhattan since the start of 2022. Since the Manhattan district attorney’s office began keeping track in 2021, there have been 90 ghost gun prosecutions in the office.

“Guns aren’t manufactured in New York,” Bragg said. “Through these printers, that is changing.”

The proposed legislation would criminalize both the printing of guns and the intentional sharing of the digital instructions the printer needs to follow.

Licensed gun owners in New York are allowed to use a 3D printer to print a gun but they must immediately register the new weapon with ATF, something the authorities said no one has ever done.

In April, thousands of guns — including numerous assault-style rifles and ghost guns — were surrendered in a single day over the weekend across the state of New York in exchange for gift cards, according to New York State Attorney General Letitia James.

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