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WVU expert says people 3D-printing guns put themselves at risk

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While opposition to manufacturing a gun using a 3D printer has focused on the safety of others, a West Virginia University forensic science expert says that the initial risk falls on the person firing a 3D printed weapon. 

Keith Morris
Ming Hsieh Distinguished Professor of Forensic and Investigative Science
WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

“Consider that 3D printing on a consumer level is not really designed to produce firearms. Real firearms cost what they do due to the engineering required to make them function safely. A printed gun might blow up immediately when fired, though even if it works more than once, you have no confidence in when it’ll have a catastrophic failure.

“Relatedly, although the law allows people to build firearms of certain kinds, it’s a legal gray area. For example, if you add a metal tube as a barrel to a plastic 3D printed gun to make it stronger, you run the risk of contravening (disobeying) regulations under the National Firearms Act.”

Keith Morris audio file (0:49)

Contact info:; 304.293.3169

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVU Today.



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