The NRA May Be Turning Donald Trump against 3D Printed Guns

A Liberator pistol appears on July 11, 2013 next to the 3D printer on which its components were made. The single-shot handgun is the first firearm that can be made entirely with plastic components forged with a 3D printer and computer-aided design (CAD) files downloaded from the Internet.

In a Tuesday morning tweet, President Donald Trump expressed disapproval toward the concept of homemade 3-D printed guns.

It’s an interesting about-face. The Trump Administration recently settled a case involving the weapons, which — in essence — will allow their proliferation. The New York Attorney General joined the attorneys general of several states to attack the Trump Administration’s move:

Plans for several homemade weapons are available online. Initially, the government attempted to stop their proliferation. The plans can be programmed into a 3-D printer. The printer, which can be located pretty much anywhere, can create a weapon out of plastic which actually works. Critics say the weapons cannot be traced or detected by regular metal detectors.

Of course, Trump’s disapproval of the weapons appears tied to the disapproval of the NRA. Several were quick to pounce on the connection:

A 2015 CNN analysis questioned how much money the gun industry actually pours into the NRA. It noted that “much of” the NRA’s cash intake “comes from everyday Americans.” Though “[s]ome political funding comes from big corporations . . . companies are barred from donating to the NRA’s political action committee.”

Still, the usual chorus joined in:

[Image via Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images.]


Aaron Keller is an attorney licensed in two states. He holds a juris doctor degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law and a broadcast journalism degree from Syracuse University. During law school, he completed legal residencies in the Office of the New Hampshire Attorney General and in a local prosecutor’s office. He was employed as a summer associate in the New Hampshire Department of Safety, which manages the state police, and further served as a summer law clerk for a New York trial judge. Before law school, Keller worked for television stations in New York and in the Midwest, mostly as an evening news anchor and investigative reporter. His original reporting on the Wisconsin murder of Teresa Halbach was years later featured in the Netflix film "Making A Murderer."

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