Gun rights advocates plan to manufacture firearms at the Texas Capitol this weekend while carrying rifles and shotguns to promote the further relaxing of restrictions on firearm ownership.
Come and Take It Texas announced Monday that group members had purchased a “Ghost Gunner” 3-D printer they would use to produce firearms at the start of the 2015 legislative session.
Lawmakers are considering changes to Texas law to allow handguns to be openly carried without a license.
The demonstrators plan to carry rifles and shotguns – which may be legally carried out in the open – while the 3-D printer produces a modified AR-15.
The Ghost Gunner was invented by Austin-based gun rights activist Cody Wilson, who sells the device for $1,500 through his nonprofit Defense Distributed.
The 3-D printer is capable of making parts for an AR-15 rifle in metal, instead of plastic, but it still needs parts such as a barrel and trigger to be attached but is legally considered a firearm.
The activists are not permitted under Texas law to sell or lend the guns they make using the printer, but they said they would demonstrate the Ghost Gunner by producing firearms for themselves.
Another gun rights group, Open Carry Texas, has asked Come and Take It Texas not to use the Ghost Gunner at the Capitol, saying the demonstration seemed unnecessarily confrontational, reported the Texas Tribune.
“It’s the first day of the Legislature, we are this close to getting open carry passed, and now these guys want to come and manufacture a firearm on the steps of the Capitol?” said group founder CJ Grisham. “I just don’t get it.”
Murdoch Pizgatti, president of Come and Take It Texas, said the demonstration was intended to protest laws that limit the use of 3-D printers to make firearms.
“Obviously it’s not confrontational, it’s just drilling a couple holes in a piece of metal,” Pizgatti said.
He pointed out that critics urged them not to carry their rifles around out in the open, but now legislators are considering a law that would allow them to carry handguns, too.
“This is the frontline,” Pizgatti said. “The 3-D printing [is] going to be cheaper, more accessible to the average person so people with less technical skills will be able to start doing this for themselves.”