SPRINGFIELD — A bill introduced in the Illinois House would add several layers of state regulation to the production and distribution of 3D-printed and home-assembled guns and parts.
Rep. Kathleen Willis, D-Addison, filed House Bill 2253, which would penalize as a Class 2 felony: the possession of an un-serialized firearm that has been 3D-printed or self-assembled; distribution of downloadable firearm printing instructions unless the distributor performs background checks and procedures consistent with a legal gun transaction; and unlawful manufacture of an un-serialized firearm.
Class 2 felonies are punishable by three to seven years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
“I’m not calling for a ban on them, I'm just saying that you need to have the same background checks as you would if you were going to purchase a regular gun at a gun dealer or a gun shop, and that means you have to have a valid FOID card,” Willis said.
The bill also requires a FOID card for anyone possessing “unfinished frames or receivers” defined in the bill as “a frame or lower receiver blank, casting, or machined body that requires further machining or molding to be used as part of a functional firearm.”
Willis said she understands gun assembly is a hobby for some, but she said unregulated, “untraceable” guns could be a dangerous tool.
Todd Vandermyde of the Federal Firearms Licensees of Illinois, a lobbyist on behalf of gun sellers, called the bill an attempt to criminalize the distribution of information, which goes against not only the Second Amendment, but also the First.
“It makes it illegal to digitally share files and blueprints, so if you’re trying to get a custom part made and you need to have a blueprint of a part made and you try to transmit that via a PDF or a drawing or with the actual code, this criminalizes the sharing of that information,” he said.
Vandermyde said there are already federal regulations in place that the bill duplicates. Willis’s bill requires any 3D-printed gun to contain enough metal to be caught by a metal detector, a provision Vandermyde said is already on federal books.
He also said that the criminalization of self-assembled guns without serial numbers is problematic, because hobbyists are already prevented from selling or trading homemade guns, the activity serial numbers are designed to track.
The Illinois Rifle Association is opposed to the bill as well, listing it on its website among eight bills it opposes this legislative session.