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Penzone: Allowing 3D-printed guns would be irresponsible, irreversible

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said allowing the distribution of designs to create guns with 3D printers would be an irresponsible action that couldn’t be reversed.

“Once you flood our world with this issue, we won’t be able to undo it,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes on Tuesday. “So I just think we need to act responsibly and not allow this to go forward until we’ve really done due diligence on the issue.”

A Texas company planned to publish gun blueprints for 3D printers Wednesday after recently being granted permission by the State Department, following a five-year legal battle.

On Monday, eight states filed a lawsuit to block the deal with Defense Distributed. On Tuesday afternoon, a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of the blueprints.

Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump tweeted that he was “looking into” the issue and was consulting the National Rifle Association.

“It’s not a political issue. It is a public safety issue,” said Penzone, who has been an outspoken critic of allowing the blueprints to be distributed.

“If law enforcement is not consulted, if we don’t get a chance to at least give our perspectives on how this can impact us today as well as tomorrow, then we will be in a position where as a nation we won’t be able to control any aspect of it.”

Penzone, who wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post last week on the subject, said the threat of the printable firearms wouldn’t come from typical consumers, who already have options for lawfully obtaining guns.

But he’s concerned about drug cartels or terrorists groups who could afford to invest in the expensive printers in order to create untraceable weapons that would thwart metal detectors.

“Quite frankly, this is beneficial to those with criminal intent,” he said.

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Bruce St. James & Pamela Hughes

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