Governor signs law banning 3D-printed weapons, ‘ghost guns’

Gun Rights

The governor of Rhode Island on Tuesday signed into law bills that ban 3D-printed guns and so-called “ghost guns” in the state.

The bills, the first ones Gov. Gina Raimondo has signed during the coronavirus pandemic, are “a matter of public health,” she said.

“I am proud to sign them because it is an important step forward in common sense gun reforms that make Rhode Island communities safer,” the Democratic governor said.

Sponsored by state Sen. Cynthia Coyne, D-Barrington, and state Rep. Patricia Serpa, D-West Warwick, the bills were approved by the legislature last week.

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3-D printed guns are generally plastic and undetectable by metal detectors. Ghost guns are available in kits, don’t require a background check to purchase and lack serial numbers.

The bills make it illegal to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer or receive any such firearms. Anyone who violates the ban and is convicted could serve up to 10 years in prison and faces fines of up $10,000. The laws take effect in 30 days.

The legislation had the support of gun control advocacy groups as well as state Attorney General Peter Neronha and state police commander Col. James Manni.

Manni recalled a 2018 investigation into a motorcycle gang in the state that yielded 52 weapons, including 11 ghost guns, which he said were specifically manufactured to sell to people prohibited from owning firearms as convicted felons.

“It did not make sense to me as a gun owner, it did not make sense to me as a law enforcement officer, that these types of firearms could be made and sold anywhere to people who should not have them,” he said.

Giffords, a Washington, D.C.-based gun violence prevention organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, praised the bills.

“Gov. Raimondo stood up to the gun lobby and put the safety of Rhode Islanders first,” Giffords said in an emailed statement. “Ghost guns are being used more and more by people who could never pass a background check. She’s fixing that, and signing this legislation is a bold step that will better protect communities throughout Rhode Island.”

An email seeking comment was left with the Rhode Island Second Amendment Coalition, the state’s NRA affiliate.

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