By: Fred Guttenberg
My name is Fred Guttenberg. My children are Jesse and Jaime. Thankfully I still get to see Jesse every day. Jaime is dead. She was murdered on February 14 at her school in Parkland.
I have dedicated my life to fighting for the issue of gun safety, with the hope that no other family ever has to experience what my family and all other families who are victims of gun violence have been through. My efforts have included social media, as well as visits with legislators in D.C. and across the states, traditional media and combined efforts with other gun safety groups. We were seeing successes. Our efforts were based upon the notion that the idea of gun safety was to protect others from traditional and detectable weapons.
Without purpose or reason, however, in June, this administration settled a lawsuit with a self-declared “crypto-anarchist.” Back in 2013, Cody Wilson attempted to publish the blueprints for homemade 3D printed plastic gun online called “The Liberator.” President Obama’s administration blocked this action, and Wilson sued the government.
In what is the biggest setback to our public safety by an administration, they changed course and decided to settle, giving Wilson the ability to publish his plans. This decision undermined both state and federal laws that block gun access for the most dangerous among us, including terrorists, felons, domestic abusers, anyone who is age-restricted, cannot pass a background check, or is susceptible to a state’s red flag laws.
Robert Spitzer, chairman of political science at the State University of New York at Cortland and an expert on the Second Amendment, tells Newsweek that metal is not necessary to the operation of a 3D printed gun, so unassembled guns could potentially pass through metal detectors and scanners.
The potential risk is significant. The guns can be made without a serial number, so law enforcement can’t trace ownership. Without a unique rifling pattern, the bullet cannot be traced back to the gun that fired it.
Wilson’s website stated “the age of the downloadable gun formally begins.”
This administration’s decision to unleash the era of untraceable weapons happened quietly. Fortunately, many State Attorney Generals filed lawsuits seeking an injunction and were successful. For now, a federal court in Washington State has temporarily stopped Wilson from publishing his plans online. However, prior to this important legal victory, the plans were already downloaded thousands of times. Now other file sharing sites are working to distribute these plans.
We must keep working through the legal process to stop this, and we need legislation to ensure the sharing of these files, and the possession and distribution of these undetected weapons, is a crime punishable by a significant fine and significant jail time.
Why would the Trump Administration knowingly choose to put our homeland at great risk by unleashing the era of undetectable weapons? Perhaps the comments on his website provide the answer. They are not looking to protect the Second Amendment, they are looking to expand it. What undetectable weapons mean is that we will be in an era where the concept of gun safety and the laws already in place to protect us may not be enough. In fact, the anarchist did this with the belief that he would be affecting the gun safety movement: “I represent the destruction of commonsense gun control,” he told The Guardian in 2016. “My ideas are dangerous…because they live in a managed world. I prefer to be a kind of horseman coming down.”
When asked how he would feel if a child was killed with a ‘Liberator’, after he was included in Wired‘s 2012 list of the deadliest people on the planet, he responded: “I guess I’d feel bad. It would be bad. It’d become this whole event. I’m sure I’d have this sinking feeling, ‘Oh my God, they’re going to make a big circus out of it.’”
As a parent whose daughter was murdered in school by a detectable weapon, I am especially concerned. If a gun is undetectable, you could have armed kids walking around in schools. What if a teenager in a highly emotional state had an undetectable weapon? Working to ensure the safety and security of our schools is hard enough. This would be an unacceptable added burden.
We must keep up the pressure on the Trump Administration to fix the dangerous situation they unleashed. They must terminate this agreement and then work with Congress to ensure laws are in place to protect us. And, we must vote. Those who do nothing need to know we will not accept silence. Orange is the color of the gun safety movement. We must send an orange wave in the November midterms. We must make gun safety the priority issue in this election.