A proposed bill would ban 3-D printed guns in the state
By Josh Faiola
PROVIDENCE, R.I (WLNE) - State Senator Cynthia A. Coyne has reintroduced legislation to outlaw untraceable firearms as investigators look into what may be the state's first murder committed by a 3-D printed weapon.
Representative Patricia A. Serpa filed a similar bill last year to ban such weapons and is preparing to submit identical legislation to the house.
The legislation proposed would prohibit the possession, selling, or manufacturing of 3-D printed firearms, "ghost guns" or any other undetectable firearms in the state.
State Senator Coyne said; "Our laws require serial numbers, background checks, and age restrictions for gun ownership to provide accountability and some level of safety. 3-D guns, ghost guns, and undetectable plastic guns are all meant to dodge these safeguards, at a tremendous risk to public safety. These guns are designed for criminal activity. Our state laws should be very clear that possessing, creating, or selling them is a criminal act, and we should be doing everything we can to keep these dangerous weapons from proliferating here."
"These homemade, undetectable guns are easily made by anyone with even a little bit of technical ability," said Representative Serpa. "While I am a strong proponent of people's right to bear arms, these devices simply lack the safety, reliability, and accountability of conventional firearms and have become a menace to society."
According to the release sent from the State House, the bill would make it unlawful in Rhode Island for any person to manufacture, sell, offer to sell, possess, purchase or transfer any firearm made from plastic, fiberglass, or through a 3-D printing process.
The bill sets a punishment for violations at up to 10 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
According to the State House, investigators believe such a gun was used in the New year's Day murder of Cheryl Smith in Pawtucket.
23-year old Jack Doherty of Albany, NY, and 18-year-old Shaylyn Moran of Pawtucket allegedly used a handgun that appears to be made from 3-D printed parts.
A Facebook account apparently used by Doherty includes several posts made prior to the murder of the gun being created, according to investigators.
The director of the Rhode Island State Crime Lab said the weapon in question is the first 3-D gun it has been tasked with investigating, and it will pose challenges since plastic weapons may not leave marks on bullets the way metal guns do and are known to frequently explode when fired, so the staff at the lab may be unable to conduct test firing on the weapon.