On June 5, 2023, new legislation was introduced in New York State by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal, and Upper West Side Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal. If passed, the bill would make it a class D felony to 3D print guns or gun parts, punishable by up to 7 years per offense. It would further make it a class A misdemeanor to share, sell, or distribute files enabling others to 3D print firearms or parts.
3D printed weaponry falls under the umbrella referred to as “ghost guns;” firearms that do not have serial numbers and are therefore untraceable. Assemblymember Rosenthal introduced legislation which banned the possession of such weapons in 2021, and since that time, New York has been aggressively cracking down.
However, with 3D printers selling for as little as $200 online, it has only become easier for individuals to evade detection while mass producing firearms. Further, per Senator Hoylman-Sigal, “It is not illegal to manufacture a 3D-printed gun or a ghost gun,” even though it is illegal to own one. “Perhaps that’s why nearly half of all the untraceable firearms recovered by the NYPD in 2022 were ghost guns—a 75% increase compared to 2021.” The proposed legislation aims to amend this legal loophole.
Of the bill, Deputy Chief Counsel of the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, David Pucino, said, “As new technologies develop, our laws must develop with them. 3D printed guns are fast emerging as a threat to public safety, with the latest generation having capabilities nearly indistinguishable from those of traditionally manufactured guns.” This new bill aims to address technology that has emerged and advanced in the short period of time since New York’s initial ghost gun legislation.
The new bill, S7364/A7489, was introduced during Gun Violence Awareness Month, and is currently in committee, after which it will go to the floor and be voted on by the Senate and Assembly. Manhattan District Attorney Brag has said of the bill, “At a time when gun control measures are being eroded around the country, New York must remain a leader in enacting the most comprehensive anti-gun legislation possible.”