Breaking News
More () »

Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Are 3D-printed guns safe?

After a mass email was sent to Iowa State students about 3D-printed guns, Local 5 looked into the safety of these weapons.

CLIVE, Iowa — This week, students at Iowa State University received an email that said they could learn about how to get started with printing a 3D firearm

Just days before, 10 people were killed in a mass shooting at a King Soopers store in Boulder, Colo. 

And five days before that, eight people, including six Asian women, were gunned down in the Atlanta metro

Students on the ISU campus told Local 5, “It might not be the best time to send an email like that," and “I just don’t think it’s a smart idea.”

It made us wonder, how easy is it to print a 3D firearm and how safe are these weapons? 

Brandon Hart, the owner of Hartsmart Products in Clive, said he won't print a gun for customers.

RELATED: TSA finds 3D printed guns at airport

“Primarily, it’s related to safety," said Hart. "A printed item is just not as safe, not as strong as an injected molded part would be.”

A 3D printed object is, mainly, made out of multiple layers of plastic

Staff at Hartsmart said it's illegal to print a firearm for someone. The gun must have a serial number and be registered with the government.

According to 3Dsourced.com, plastic struggles with the pressure of live ammunition and can break or explode when fired.

However, it can make it past metal detectors. 

WATCH: Bill that would make gun permits optional in Iowa heads to Reynolds' desk for signing

Download the We Are Iowa app or subscribe to Local 5's "5 Things to Know" email newsletter.