During the controversy surrounding the release of blueprints for 3-D-printed plastic guns, the Transportation Security Administration said airport security screeners have been able to spot the so-called untraceable and undetectable weapons in carry-on bags.

The 3-D-printed gun controversy began in June when Defense Distributed of Austin, Texas, reached a settlement with the federal government to allow it to make the plans for the guns available for download. Then a federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints, and a coalition of 20 state attorneys general filed a motion Aug. 2 to continue to block the release of the plans.

But TSA officials say 3-D-printed guns and firearm components have been in circulation for years and have been found on passengers trying to board commercial flights.

Since August 2016, the TSA has detected two 3-D-printed guns and two 3-D-printed firearm components, all of which were voluntarily abandoned by the passengers who packed them in their carry-on bags, TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said.

The most recent component was discovered in January at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

“TSA officers are trained and on the lookout for 3-D guns,” he said. “We have proven detection capabilities and screening protocols in place.”

Like all firearms, explosives and replica weapons, 3-D-printed guns are prohibited in the cabins of commercial planes. Passengers caught trying to bring any weapons onto a flight are turned over to local law enforcement for prosecution and could face fines of up to $9,800.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.