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The NRA May Be Turning Donald Trump against 3D Printed Guns


A Liberator pistol appears on July 11, 2013 next to the 3D printer on which its components were made. The single-shot handgun is the first firearm that can be made entirely with plastic components forged with a 3D printer and computer-aided design (CAD) files downloaded from the Internet.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, President Donald Trump expressed disapproval toward the concept of homemade 3-D printed guns.

It’s an interesting about-face. The Trump Administration recently settled a case involving the weapons, which — in essence — will allow their proliferation. The New York Attorney General joined the attorneys general of several states to attack the Trump Administration’s move:

Plans for several homemade weapons are available online. Initially, the government attempted to stop their proliferation. The plans can be programmed into a 3-D printer. The printer, which can be located pretty much anywhere, can create a weapon out of plastic which actually works. Critics say the weapons cannot be traced or detected by regular metal detectors.

Of course, Trump’s disapproval of the weapons appears tied to the disapproval of the NRA. Several were quick to pounce on the connection:

A 2015 CNN analysis questioned how much money the gun industry actually pours into the NRA. It noted that “much of” the NRA’s cash intake “comes from everyday Americans.” Though “[s]ome political funding comes from big corporations . . . companies are barred from donating to the NRA’s political action committee.”

Still, the usual chorus joined in:

[Image via Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images.]


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Aaron Keller holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. He is a former anchor and executive producer for the Law&Crime Network and is now deputy editor-in-chief for the Law&Crime website. DISCLAIMER:  This website is for general informational purposes only. You should not rely on it for legal advice. Reading this site or interacting with the author via this site does not create an attorney-client relationship. This website is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney. Speak to a competent lawyer in your jurisdiction for legal advice and representation relevant to your situation.