Is It Legal To 3D Print Guns? Expert Guide

Post Disclaimer

We independently review everything we recommend. The information is provided by Is It Legal To 3D Print Guns? Expert Guide and while we endeavour to keep the information up to date and correct, we may earn a commission if you buy something through links on our post. Learn more

Today’s post will describe Is It Legal To 3D Print Guns? Industry heavyweights like Glock, Sig Sauer, and Remington have dominated the manufacture of weapons for decades. Many thousands of dollars and years of experience were needed to build a firearm at home. However, this change has begun in recent years.

3D-printed firearms are becoming more and more dependable, and many of them don’t require any components that are subject to federal regulation because of advances in 3D printing technology. Following are the fundamentals of plastic, 3D-printed weapons, and a growing movement to make them available to the general public.

Is It Legal To 3D Print Guns?

Is it acceptable to use a 3D printer to create a gun? Most of the time, sure. Federal legislation enables the production of firearms without a license, even those made using a 3D printer, as long as they have metal components.

Legal To 3D Print Guns

What Is A 3D-Printed Gun?

A 3D-printed firearm, to put it simply, is one that uses parts made with a 3D printer. There is a wide range of 3D-printed firearms. A 3D printer can make nearly all of some models, such as the “Liberator” pistol from Defense Distributed, which makes 3D-printed guns.

Metal parts are typically required for others. 3D-printed gun plans tend to focus on the lower receiver, which is essentially the chassis of a rifle. Gun parts are the only ones subject to federal background checks under federal law.

Some people print lower platforms at home and finish their firearms with parts that may be acquired without a background check such as metal barrels or factory buttstocks to evade authorities. Kits that include all the elements required to build a gun at home are available from several gun dealers.

The price of 3D printers has dropped significantly, and gun groups have put together instructions on getting started. To get started, these improvements have made it simpler for people looking for untraceable firearms, which have become increasingly common at crime scenes in recent years.

However, the procedure is still more time-consuming than most other ways to obtain a firearm. As an example, a 3D printer must be calibrated, software must be downloaded, and the machine must undergo a flurry of upgrades to consistently create weapons parts, which themselves require exact construction to ensure they can withstand the explosion from a gunshot. 

Is Printing A Gun Illegal?

The use of 3D-printed guns is legal. The law does not differentiate between 3D printing and other methods of manufacture when it comes to homemade guns. 3D CAD files are required for printing, and many are freely available online. Invest some time in researching the topic. As I recall, there is a method to boost the plastic’s strength.

3D-printed firearms must abide by all applicable firearms regulations and legislation. To comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act, for example, there is the lowest amount of metal that you must add, even though it is not required functionally. To meet the NFA requirements, it must be shaped like a gun and not incorporate a silencer.

The ATF strongly recommends serializing your firearm, but it is not required. However, if you want to sell your handgun in the future or start a business selling printed firearms, you can’t do either of those things (without further licensing anyway). There may be limitations on the kinds of guns and magazines you can own in your state.

3D Printers: Are They Legal To Build A Gun?    

Yes, in most circumstances. Unlicensed firearm manufacturing is permitted by federal law as long as the rifles incorporate metal components. States in the absence of federal regulation have taken steps to limit the production of homemade firearms. No matter how a gun is created, anybody in California is required by law to obtain a state-issued serial number for the weapon.

A federal manufacturing license is required in New Jersey before you can 3D-print a gun. Other laws prohibit the creation of undetectable firearms and prohibit the purchase of parts to make an unsterilized gun illegal. New Mexico and Virginia, among others, are proposing legislation that would impose similar limitations.

What’s The Big Deal About Them?

Unlike regular firearms, 3D-printed guns don’t require background checks, making them virtually untraceable by authorities. They are a type of ghost gun: undetectable by law enforcement, even if recovered.

According to state attorneys general who opposes the use of 3D-printed firearms, some have been found at crime scenes, but the exact number is unknown. Gun-related crimes have made headlines in a few instances. An arrest was made when a 3D-printed gun was spotted being tested in the woods in Texas in February 2019. Because of his criminal record, he was forbidden from acquiring guns.

A significant source of concern for many law enforcement agencies is the possibility of 3D-printed firearms that contain no metal parts. As a result, politicians and law enforcement officials fear that such guns might be able to bypass metal detectors, allowing them to enter restricted areas, such as airports or government buildings, without detection.

These fears are mainly unwarranted, as 3D-printed gun makers have not yet developed an alternative to metal bullets. Security experts believe that X-ray detection in permanent spots most metal detectors can quickly identify the outline of 3D-printed weaponry. TSA agents have recovered 3D-printed guns at airports several times already.

Even still, according to Mary McCord, a former U.S. attorney and investigator in the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, the weapons’ lack of traceability has already attracted the attention of terror groups. Terrorist groups are very interested in using practical, useable, efficient, and functional 3D-printed weaponry. That much we know from a counterterrorism standpoint.

Is It Legal To 3d Print A Lower Receiver?

Depending on state legislation, it is typically allowed to 3D print a suppressor or lower receiver. Only having a metal component that will identify it as a gun or firearm part will do, according to the ATF.


So, this is all about Is It Legal To 3D Print Guns? The use of 3D printers and the designs of 3D printer firearms are not widespread enough to be a problem. (And we all know that regulations will be applied when they do eventually). It’s true, though, that it is currently legal.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Is it worth the effort? It’s probably not going to happen. Using these weapons to harm others will land you in hot water with the FBI and CIA, who will go to great lengths to find these weapons and learn how to track them down in the future. In addition, the guns themselves aren’t worth the investment.

About 100 rounds are reported to have been fired at one, that’s all. After that, it’s pretty much a rebuild job for the weapon. As a result, I doubt their accuracy. In addition to that, you’ll have to deal with ammo. Just pass the examinations and get your hands on a real firearm instead.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it legal to 3D print imitation weapons?

Yes. Personal 3D printing of a functional gun for your use may be permitted in several states. You are not allowed to sell or give it away.

Is it unlawful to build a gun using a 3D printer?

As a result, 3D-printed weapons are de facto unlawful under present law, prohibiting any production type. As a result, the Home Office updated its guidance to firearms licensing rules to include a disclaimer about 3D-printed weapons.

Is it possible for a felon to make a 3D-printed gun?

If you comply with local, state, and federal laws, you can make your firearms for personal use. It makes no difference what you use to make the rifle. A firearm is illegal in the hands of a convicted felon. That doesn’t alter with the 3D printing of a firearm.

Is it against the law in California to 3D print a firearm?

Using 3D printing, you can create your firearm, but only if it is legal to own or produce in your state of residence, such as California. Assault weapons and machine guns are prohibited from being manufactured or assembled by anyone in California.

Similar Posts