In what may be the first case of its kind, the Transportation Security Administration has seized a 3d printed gun from a passenger's suitcase at the airport.
Security officials with the TSA at Reno's airport in Nevada came across a .22 caliber pistol in the suitcase of a passenger heading toward his gate and asked the passenger if he had interest in placing the firearm - which included ammunition - into luggage that was checked with the airline and stowed underneath the airplane.
"When packed properly, ammunition can be transported in your checked baggage, but it is never permissible to pack ammo in your carry-on bag," the TSA wrote on its blog. "You can travel with your firearms in checked baggage, but they must first be declared to the airline."
This is exactly the sort of situation that some lawmakers have been concerned with - someone making a gun at their home using a 3d printer and possibly slipping past security because the firearm did not have proper metal identification on it so that it would be picked up by detection mechanisms at the airport.
"Just because we find a prohibited item on an individual does not mean they had bad intentions; that's for law enforcement to decide," TSA wrote on its blog. "In many cases, people simply forgot they had these items."
The outcome in Reno was a favorable one and was just one of 68 firearms found in carry on luggage by TSA last week. However, because 3d printed firearms are made with pure plastic, they are much harder to detect at security checkpoints unless they include a metal strip.
Congress should be looking at this incident with eyes wide open.