When 3-D printed guns went from imaginary vaporware to being an actual thing, liberals everywhere gave a huge collective shudder. Never-mind how utterly useless they are, or that the original “Liberator” was more of a proof-of-concept than a gun, the anti-gun crowd just new that these things would be brought onto airplanes and used to cause mass destruction.
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And now it has actually happened. The sneaky part, not the mass destruction part. Reno TSA officials found the plastic gun in a man’s carry on earlier this week–the first such discovery. Ever.
Yet the white plastic pistol was a replica of a derringer. It couldn’t fire. And it wouldn’t have stood up to the pressure of the very 5 real bullets that had been loaded into it. They were .22 long rifles. Still, it was enough to cause some major excitement at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
“Whether it’s a replica or not, it’s not allowed,” Transportation Security Administration Agency spokeswoman Lorie Dankers said. Her fear, completely understandable, is that no one would know it wasn’t real. People holding BB guns get shot. Toys too. Real bullets loaded into a plastic fake can only be meant to make people think it is a real gun.
Only there’s one detail here that isn’t getting reported with much clarity. The gun and bullets were “detected” by a luggage scanner. A machine. So they may have been in his checked baggage. If so, perhaps the owner wasn’t intending to use the gun to scare the passengers on the plane.
The man has been identified as Frederick Vandeman, age 64. He is a medical doctor. He own a 3-D printer. He printed the gun to show off his work to colleagues. Vandeman claims he’d flown with the gun from Indiana, forgetting it was in his bag.
While some in the media are jumping on this like a terrorist plot had been thwarted, Vandeman hasn’t been charged with a crime. The TSA confiscated the gun and ammo, and let him go on his way. He may still face a fine up to $7,500.
Even though he was cleared to continue his travels, the Reno TSA turned him over to the FBI, who met him in the Nashville airport. The FBI passed him off to the ATF. None of these agencies have commented officially on the matter.