Schumer said the guns are capable of passing unnoticed through metal detectors, violating the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988. Others worry that felons, mentally ill people or terrorists could use the technology to manufacture firearms and potentially explosives.
Wilson calls Schumer’s anticipated legislation “pernicious” and outdated because airport detectors are more sophisticated. One of his plastic guns is unlikely to ever make it on a plane undetected, he said. Plus, his current prototype has steel in it.
“I understand the concern, but there is a bit of misdirection,” Wilson said. “This gun is detectable by backscatter X-ray and digital imaging and all the other conventional modern forms of imaging.”
The Hyde Park resident’s next step is to refine the prototype, which was successfully fired by hand Saturday on private property in Lockhart. The test-firing video has been posted on YouTube.
The gun is called the Liberator and is mostly made of bulky white plastic. Wilson is hoping to streamline it and make improvements. Wilson developed the idea with a friend in March 2012 and raised $2,000 in 22 days through the crowd-sourcing website Indiegogo.com. The company then froze their account because of the weapon concerns.
Another company, which had loaned Wilson a 3-D printer, reclaimed it a day later because of legal concerns. But through media attention, Wilson said, the group reached its target of $20,000 on Sept. 19.
Although he has public safety concerns, Austin Public Safety Commission Chairman Michael Lauderdale said 3-D printing is exciting technology that could revolutionize manufacturing.