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New York City wants 3D gun registration

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New York City regulators want legislation that would make registration compulsory for 3D gun ownership and prevent others without licenses from printing firearms.

The New York City Council introduced a bill this week which would regulate the use of 3D printers in "printing firearms, ammunition and ammunition feeding devices." Gunsmiths would be required to inform the New York police department within seventy-two hours of completing a printed firearm, and those without firearms licenses will be prohibited from producing weapons in part or whole.

The bill follows legislation introduced in May to prohibit "the manufacturing, sale and use of firearms and ammunition magazines digitally made by individuals."

U.S. agencies say that as 3D printers -- which are continually sliding in cost -- can produce objects which cannot be detected by X-ray machines or metal detectors, the ownership of 3D-printed weapons circumvent firearms possession laws and could also threaten national security.

In May, a Democratic state senator in California introduced a draft bill to ban the possession of 3D-printed guns. Amendments to bills that prevent the possession of plastic firearms are also being discussed.

Defense Distributed successfully fired a 3D-printed handgun last month. Downloadable blueprints were hosted on the group's website before being rapidly taken down by the U.S. Department of Defense Trade Controls agency. However, the problem that U.S. regulators face is a simple one -- once a file is uploaded online, stemming distribution is extremely difficult. Not only are the CAD files being downloaded and hosted by thousands of individuals through torrent technology, but a number of file lockers also store the files.

Read More: Computer World

Image credit: Defense Distributed

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— By on June 13, 2013, 7:11 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure