CA Passes 3D Gun Bill Into Law, Requires Registration

By Jonathan R. Tung, Esq. on July 28, 2016 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It was going to happen sooner or later, and it looks like it happened sooner. California passed a law last week that, according to the NRA, would "effectively end the practice of personally manufacturing firearms in California."

How does one manufacture a gun at home without heavy machinery and tools? Easy. Go to your local Best Buy and get a 3D printer.

Plastic Guns; Assembly Bill 857

The California law looks to be a nip-it-in-the-bud attempt by the state's legislature, getting a jump on what could be contentious legal ground later on. Under the new law, anyone that attempts to create a 3D printed gun will have to apply to the state's Department of Justice for a serial number for that gun.

The application process will involve a full-scale background check on the applicant, and it will also come with the requirement that the serial be affixed to the gun with a provision that it cannot be transferred to another party.

In other words, you attempt to print it, you must get a serial. Oh, and by the way, it's yours until you die.

Unsafe Gun Act

The somewhat ironically-named Unsafe Gun Act has some import here. Spokespeople of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence spoke before the California Senate:

"Due to the materials from which these guns are manufactured, they would almost certainly not pass the testing requirements in the Unsafe Handgun Act and therefore would not, under normal circumstances, be legal for sale to the public. Furthermore, plastic guns have the ability to pass through metal detectors where they can be used to cause harm in sensitive places."

And that's certainly true. But what about the other legal issues? For instance, what would really qualify as a firearm if printed from and made from plastic?

Time will certainly tell. After all, there is no shortage of gun litigation in this state.

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