Penzone takes stance against 3-D printing guns in op-ed piece
PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone issued an op-ed piece to the Washington Post on Thursday to encourage the State Department to rule against a private company hoping to sell blueprints used to create guns through 3-D printing.
“We’re talking about weapons that have no history or record, no serial number, don’t come from a business framed point of origin,” Penzone told 92.3 KTAR News’ Mac & Gaydos. “To try to restrict felons, those mentally ill, potential threats to our public safety to keep the guns out of their hands, we know how challenging that has been.”
Allowing free distribution of blueprints for 3-D printing could provide easy access to guns for the threats Penzone described.
The case Penzone was referring to in the op-ed piece was a lawsuit brought on by Defcad.com founder Cody Wilson, after the State Department demanded his files to be taken down after 100,000 downloads of the plans in just a few days.
Wilson and other 3-D printing specialists have been working toward producing effective high-grade plastic firearms, of which blueprints could be purchased and used to make unregulated guns.
“This reckless and dangerous action that will enable the uncontrolled distribution of downloadable, do-it-yourself firearms,” Penzone wrote in the op-ed.
Penzone’s primary concern with 3-D printed firearms is how easily accessible the guns could potentially become. Guns without traceable serial numbers made of plastic that would not be recognized by metal detectors could create serious public safety issues.
“Our ability to trace guns recovered at crime scenes is a critical step in catching criminals and getting killers off our streets,” Penzone wrote.
Originally, the State Department determined that posting the blueprints to the technology was a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The decision was later reversed and now Defcad.com, a website created by Wilson is set to release the plans on August 1.
“The State Department can stop this from happening by standing by its original decision to prevent digital, downloadable gun files from being posted online,” according to Penzone.
“Ultimately, it is uncontrolled, irresponsible and unconscionable.”