Eric Gay / AP
Eric Gerard McGinnis should not have a gun. After a violent confrontation with his girlfriend in 2015, a Texan judge was excluded from possession of a firearm. A year later, McGinnis tried to buy a gun anyway, but the purchase was not performed after a background check revealed the court order.
According to the US law firm, McGinnis got a barrel, a shank, an upper receiver and a handle – and then used a 3D printer to create the gun's firing mechanism. He assembled the parts into a short-barreled AR-15 rifle and went into the woods with federal prosecutors as the "hit list" of Democratic and Republican legislators, including their office and home addresses. The list was titled "9/11/2001 List of American Terrorists".
McGinnis was arrested in 2017 after officials heard three shots in the forest. On Wednesday, he was sentenced to eight years in prison.
"When he realized that he could not buy a gun legally, Eric McGinnis bypassed his gun laws by printing his gun with 3D printing, so no background check was needed," said Erin Nealy Cox, US Attorney for the Northern District of Texas.
While McGinnis was convicted in Texas, Democrats in the House of Representatives sought to redeem their pledge to tighten gun laws. On Wednesday, the Judiciary Committee approved two bills that extended the background controls on the acquisition of weapons. These laws would also be reviewed at arms shows or private sales. According to Politico, the legislation has "virtually no chance in the Senate", which is controlled by the Republicans.
McGinnis' attempt to buy a gun legally was prevented by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The legislation proposed yesterday in the Senate, however, deals directly with printable 3D cannons. A group of Democrats proposed a law that would maintain existing laws against the publication of 3D weapons information over the Internet.
The Senate Democrats criticized President Trump's proposal to hand over the supervision of 3D weapons to the Commerce Department. He argued that this would make it easier for people to access designs.
"The Trump administration basically gave everyone – including criminals and killers – the go-ahead for 3D printing and the sale of incomprehensible" ghost guns, "said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, according to the Washington Examiner. "Fortunately, the courts are blocking that for the time being, but Congress must act to close that blatant gap before someone is killed."
It is not just the Congress that is considering arms legislation. In New Hampshire, state legislators on Wednesday considered several legislative proposals that would extend the background checks and close the so-called "gun-sighting gap". introduce a waiting period of seven days for most firearm sales; and prohibit the possession of firearms in school zones throughout the state.
In Nevada, the state senate also approved a bill to close the gun. According to the Reno Gazette Journal, all eight members of the Republican minority party opposed the bill. They argued that the law was a "feel-good measure" that was passed for political reasons.