On Thursday, NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch joined Fox & Friends to make a case that concerns about blueprints for 3D-printed firearms being publicly available amount to hysteria.
Loesch’s argument is that the federal Undetectable Firearms Act already prohibits firearms that can’t be detected by metal detectors, so there is no need for additional regulation.
“When they say ‘undetectable’ — and I’ve seen senators like Ed Markey say this, I’ve seen Chuck Schumer say this — they say, ‘oh my gosh, there’s going to be just a rash of undetectable guns out there that are going to be printed, and they’re going to arm criminals and terrorists.’ First off, all of the plans that we’re talking about actually follow the rule of law,” Loesch said. “There is no such thing as a legal undetectable gun, so let’s get that straight. In fact, ATF spells this out, this is codified, the statute is out there — in order for it to be considered a legal firearm, whether or not you are personally making it or it’s a commercially-made firearms, you have to have so many ounces of metal.”
“They’re lawmakers, so they should know that this is because of the literally named ‘Undetectable Firearms Acts’ of 1988 that I would like to add the NRA helped to craft,” Loesch added. “So it’s been illegal for 30 years thanks in part to the NRA that none of these lawmakers want to acknowledge, but then they want to blame that organization simultaneously.”
In order to comply with federal law, a Texas based-company named Defense Distributed put together blueprints for 3D-printed guns that include a metal component. But according to reports, the guns can still function without it.
Loesch’s argument assumes the prospect of violating federal law is a sufficient deterrent for someone tempted to smuggle a firearm past metal detectors and onto an airplane or into a ballpark. But advocates of stronger regulation sensibly point out that concerns about violating the law don’t amount to much to someone who is considering murder, and that blueprints for all-plastic guns shouldn’t be legally available in the first place.
Loesch’s pro-gun talking points rarely encounter much pushback on Fox & Friends. But on Thursday, host Brian Kilmeade briefly alluded to concerns people like Markey and Schumer have.
“But you can pop that piece of metal out,” Kilmeade said. “That’s what people are saying, you can pop the piece of metal out.”
Loesch had no good response, and instead fell back on her talking point that existing regulations are enough.
“If you want to break the law, if you want to violate the law, and you want to have something that’s not actually going to be sturdy,” she said.
— Tommy Christopher (@tommyxtopher) August 2, 2018
As ThinkProgress detailed, on Tuesday, a court “temporarily blocked downloads of 3D-printed gun blueprints after gun-control organizations, 21 U.S. state attorneys general, and Democrats in Congress scrambled this week to block [Defense Distributed] from sharing them on the internet.”
But the court order wasn’t enough to prevent blueprints for 3D-printed guns from becoming available for download. According to CNN, “[a]nother organization, the Firearms Policy Coalition, posted the plans online, saying it ‘does not recognize’ the court order.”