Ilya Vett, Lion King Prop Maker, arrest, 3D Guns
(Photo by Ilya Yett Facebook/Defense Distributed)

Last Friday, NYPD officers arrested Lion King prop maker Ilya Vett for using a 3D printer to make a gun. Police found Vett backstage of the Minskoff Theatre on West 45th Street, which is right off Broadway, during a raid.

According to the New York Post, police discovered Vett printing a “a hard black plastic object which, based on my training and experience, is shaped like a revolver,” said an officer in the complaint.

Vett, who is an assistant supervisor for the prop department with The Lion King, told police that he was making the gun for his brother. Supposedly, Vett’s brother lives upstate and has a firearms license. Vett also said he took the printer to the theater because his workshop was too dusty.

Originally, police charged Vett with criminal possession of a weapon and felony gun manufacture. However, prosecutors reduced the charges to attempted criminal possession of a firearm. The Lion King prop maker faces up to four years in prison.

3D Firearms

The debate over 3D firearms has been going for a while. However, the topic jumped to new levels in recent months. In July, the State Department settled a legal case that allowed the blueprints to be posted online by Defense Distributed. Almost immediately, 19 states sued to block distribution of the plans, pitting the First and Second amendments against public safety.

“These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history,” said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson in a statement.

A judge granted an injunction blocking the free release of the design, but Defense Distributed defied the ruling by selling the design, according to CNET.

While a lot of people are upset about 3D guns, most of the information about them is misleading. All 3D guns require some metal, such as a nail used as a firing pin. Additionally, the U.S. Undetectable Firearms Act requires a 6-ounce piece of steel so metal detectors can sense them. At the same time, 3D guns require a high-dollar, commercial printer to be truly useable. A 3D gun built on a cheap printer would like explode after a few rounds at most. Of course, detractors are mostly concerned with future, such as when technology brings down 3D printer costs.

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