A bill making it a felony to possess undetectable firearms and firearms that do not have serial numbers is scheduled for its first reading on the floor of the House of Delegates on Monday afternoon. Delegate Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax) (pictured above) introduced HB2276 as a ban on plastic firearms and unfinished frames, although the language of the bill specifically focuses on firearms undetectable by common weapons screening machines.
“Since the 1980s, we’ve had a ban on plastic guns and so it expands the definition of plastic guns to modernize it and account for the fact that we have 3D-printed guns and gun parts and include those in the definition of a plastic guns,” Simon said in the Public Safety Firearms subcommittee on Tuesday. “And then it says if you’re going to have a firearm, it has to have a serial number. That’s it.”
Cody Wilson, who first got attention as an activist for 3D printed guns, told The Virginia Star that federal law already bans undetectable firearms. Wilson said early models were mostly plastic with a few metal parts, but the second wave of 3D-printed guns relies heavily on metal parts, including springs, slides, bolts, and barrels.
“No one makes undetectable firearms with 3D printers. It’s very difficult to do,” Wilson said. “Even if I gave you the files and you made a 100 percent plastic Glock, it wouldn’t work.”
Wilson said the ban on unserialized firearms is more problematic.
“You have the right to keep and bear arms. All right, doesn’t that mean you have a concomitant right to make the arms that you can keep and bear? It’s actually pretty natural. All the Virginia legislature is saying is that you have to buy those guns. Well, that’s a constitutional question,” Wilson said. “In the meantime, it will mostly be ignored that by anyone that actually wants to make their gun because it’s never been easier.”
Wilson is the founder of Defense Distributed, which sells plans and machines for home-made firearms. Wilson also made headlines in 2019 when he was banned from possessing firearms while on probation after pleading guilty to third-degree felony “injury to a child,” according to Ars-Technica.
In a recent email blast, Virginia Constitutional Conservatives Director S. Chris Anders wrote, “Since the founding of Virginia, self-made firearms have been legal, and this ban on 80 percent completed firearms frames would instantly make thousands of law-abiding citizens felons!”
Anders said, “This is yet another effort by the anti-gun nuts to turn citizens into criminals. Not only that, but by eliminating the sale and possession of 80 percent receivers, completed or not, this is nothing but a full-bore effort for complete and total firearm registration lists.”
In the subcommittee, Simon said, “If you want to buy a gun, it doesn’t stop you from buying or possessing it or doing anything legally. But if you want to not have a serial number so you can’t be traced or so you can avoid that background check because you couldn’t otherwise buy a gun, you won’t like this bill, but I think we should pass it anyways.”
“It doesn’t mean you can’t build your own guns from a kit if you want to,” Simon said in subcommittee. “You can do that you, just have to get a serial number for the receiver.”
He concluded, “If you want to buy a gun, it doesn’t stop you from buying or possessing it or doing anything legally. But if you want to not have a serial number so you can’t be traced or so you can avoid that background check because you couldn’t otherwise buy a gun, you won’t like this bill, but I think we should pass it anyways.”
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