There's a new concern in the ongoing gun debate: plastic guns you can make in your own home. Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer of New York is sounding the alarm after a Texas group announced it has made a fully functional gun using three-dimensional printer technology.
Schumer is sponsoring legislation that would extend the existing ban on weapons that can't be spotted by a metal detector.
"We're facing a situation where anyone—a felon, a terrorist—can open a gun factory in their garage and the weapons they make will be undetectable. It's stomach-churning," Schumer said at a Sunday news conference.
The gun, called "The Liberator," is made by an Austin, Texas non-profit called Defense Distributed. According to Forbes, the Liberator has 16 parts, 15 of which are plastic and take four hours to make. The one metal part is a hardware store nail used as a firing pin. The weapon also has a space for a six-ounce chunk of metal whose purpose is to set off metal detectors. But the gun still works if that is not installed.
New York's Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, who is co-sponsoring legislation with Schumer, told Forbes.com "Gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors."
The man behind the gun is University of Texas law student and self-described anarchist, Cody Wilson, 25. In an interview with CNBC, Wilson said he doesn't advocate violence. "But I advocate that you should be free to have that choice to use it...you should increasingly be able to have the tools to make weapons for yourself."
Schumer warned someone could make one of these plastic guns relatively inexpensively with a $1,000 printer at home.
Under federal law, printing a gun for personal use is legal. Charles Hauser, chief of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive's gun tracing center, told CNBC the agency is just beginning to struggle with the issue of 3-D printed guns. "It's a serious, serious problem," he said.
Defense Distributed says it plans to release the blueprints for the plastic gun sometime this week.