New York Man Arrested for 3D Printing a Firearm

Ilya Vett 3d gun arrest lion king new york gun control

courtesy New York Post and David McGlynn

As the New York Post reports, “Things weren’t very Hakuna Matata at Broadway’s iconic ‘The Lion King’ on Friday afternoon, when cops stormed the theater to arrest a props worker for allegedly trying to make a gun with a 3D printer, The Post has learned.”

Cops from the Midtown South precinct arrived at the Minskoff Theatre on West 45th Street at 12:30 p.m., and went backstage to collect Ilya Vett, 47, the assistant supervisor for the prop department.

Vett told New York’s finest that he brought his printer to the theater to print a firearm for his brother because his home workshop is too dusty.

Vett, of Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn, was in the midst of 3-D printing “a hard black plastic object which, based on my training and experience, is shaped like a revolver,” a cop swore in Vett’s criminal complaint.

Uh huh. If he was printing a revolver, we’d be very impressed.

It was after 8 p.m. Saturday when he was finally arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court. Cops had thrown the book at him, initially charging him with criminal possession of a weapon and felony gun manufacture, sources told The Post.

Felony gun manufacture? We looked, but couldn’t find a law — even in New York City — that makes it illegal to make your own firearm, something that’s legal nationwide. Which is probably why . . .

Manhattan prosecutors reduced the charges, leaving Vett facing one count of attempted criminal possession of a firearm — which is still a felony, though at the lowest level. The charge carries anywhere from no jail to a maximum of four years prison.

Naturally, possession of a handgun in the city requires a license. Because guns. Vett told cops that he downloaded the plans for the gun he was attempting to print from the internet.

New York is, of course, one of the 21 states currently suing Defense Distributed in an effort to keep them from making their 3D gun plans available via the internet. But the plans have been widely available for years and you can get yours right now at

Look for Governor Soprano to use the Vett case as another argument for still more gun rights restrictions in the Empire State. As if he needed another excuse.




  1. avatar Ralph says:

    “Look for Governor Soprano to use the Vett case”

    Gov. Soprano? He’s more like Gov. Mussolini.

    1. avatar 1791 says:

      Just ask Frank Panasuk. Cuomo’s name in New York is Il Duce…

    2. avatar frank speak says:

      sounds like a desperation move…still think they’re pissing in the wind…

    3. avatar nyglockowner says:

      Governor Fredo.
      The incompetent son of the Godfather.

  2. avatar HP says:

    Wild horses couldn’t drag me into the city limits of NYC. It’s utterly baffling to me why anyone would go there, much less live there.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      hurricane sandy dragged me there once. pretty nice place devoid of inhabitants.

    2. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

      Exactly,why would anyone want to reside in a Marxist $hit hole.

      1. avatar Rocketman says:

        I lived in Connecticut for 10 months on a engineering job assignment back in the early 80’s. Connecticut is supposed to be “better” to live in than NYC I was told by the locals. Sh**ho** back then and even worse now. I can’t even imagine how bad NYC is.

        1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

          ” I can’t even imagine how bad NYC is.”

          Currently, *slightly* better than San Fransisco, in the street-feces-density-ratio category…

    3. avatar Ardent says:

      Seconded. I’d avoid even flyimg in the vicinity lest an emergency force a landing there. My checked luggage wouldn’t pass muster anywhere in NY or NJ, and I wouldn’t take my chances in MA either.

      For that matter, my EDC here in Ohio contains not less than 6 felonies in NYC and those are just the ones I’m aware of. Screw that place, and frankly screw the people in it as well.

    4. avatar Mike W. says:

      Born and raised in Brooklyn,NYC. It’s a great place with SOME great people. It’s overwhelming to the simple so I’m not surprised to hear disparaging things to someone who I don’t think has ever been there. Should I know say go home and bang your wife/sister/same person? NO, that would be rude for me to assume you are like that.
      The gun laws are racist and a joke. If you got money, you can get a CCW even in NYC, you just can’t get caught paying off the cops in licensing division.
      Cuomo is a total POS.

    5. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Because, first, there’s a whole lot of investment capital there.
      Second, there’s Broadway, Birdland, and tons of other music and cultural venues.
      There’s Central Park in Winter, there’s Times Square on any Saturday night.
      You’ll hear some of the best, and some of the worst, music acts of your life in the Subway.
      Plus, if you want whatever the best version of the food you like, at 3AM, you can get it there.
      And, in my experience, the people are generally nice and helpful.
      NYC is an incredible place to visit.

  3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    he was going to shoot simba. then hillary, i mean scar, would be king.

  4. avatar anonymoose says:

    He doesn’t sound too bright.

  5. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

    The NYC theater crowd is almost exclusively Hillary supporting leftists. The DA is between a rock and a hard place here. They’ll want to create a national precedent here, but it’s just not the guy they’d prefer to be prosecuting. According to the article, he all but admitted to the manufacture. Only thing now is what the sentence will be. Had it been a 2A activist, it would be something totally different.

    1. avatar 1791 says:

      Depends on the procedural posture, If he pleads before indicment, they may reduce the charge to an ACD or disorderly conduct. If it were my client, the first thing I would do would be to go for that resolution provided that the defendant has no prior convictions. But with a situation like this, that’s not likely – so, if they’re going to demand a felony conviction, his attorney will likely try to do an SCI proffer plea with no jail time and either a conditional discharge or minimum probation.

      People: This is why you don’t talk to the police without an attorney. Had he not admitted he was trying to print a weapon, they likely couldn’t have gotten him on the attempt. He had a strong argument that he was trying to build a replica – a paperweight. That went out the window the minute he opened his mouth.

      1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

        I’m not sure what latitude they have in charging. NYC Law is pretty straight forward. If indeed he was in possession of an adjudicated “firearm”, he faces a mandatory minimum of 3 years without judicial discretion. There’s gonna be lots of political pressure on the DA here. Oddly enough, this story is buried deep in the metro section of the NY Post, where I found it. I was the one who emailed this to Dan @ TTAG. It doesn’t seem to have gone national yet. Im suprised that it hasn’t been reported anywhere else yet, too (at least not as a few hours ago). If it goes viral, this guy is screwed

        1. avatar LarryinTX says:

          More, please. A mandatory 3 years *for what*? Is he a prohibited person? What is the CRIME? Because in Texas, I would see nothing.

        2. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

          3 years mandatory minimum being in possession of a firearm without proper NYC licensing. This is the only part of that comment I’m 100% sure about. And this is even for a first time offender with no priors. Add on to that he admitted to manufacturing for someone else, and it’s no longer for personal use, and the feds can get involved. Again, if he was a 2A activist they’d bury him. Still, there’s some relevant details that aren’t clear, like how much of the printing was completed. I suspect that’s gonna be quite important. Also, at the end of the article, the Einstein admitted to having a rifle in his home. If he’s in NYC limits, and depending on what kind of rifle and if he had ammunition, that could lead to even more time.

        3. avatar neiowa says:

          Change of venue to the real part of NY (outside of marxist NYC area)

        4. avatar Big Bill says:

          IANAL, and especially am not very familiar with NYC or NYS law, but would be interested in knowing just what the law there considers to be a “firearm.” It’s my understanding that there is a definition of “firearm,” and that whatever the cops found must conform to this definition in order to achieve a conviction on a charge of illegal possession of a firearm, or whatever they will actually call his alleged crime.
          Again, IANAL, but if they seized the alleged firearm before it was finished being printed, was it actually a firearm? If they waited until the “firearm” was finished being printed, while they watched, exactly who, under the law, actually controlled the printer when it printed the “firearm?”
          Interested minds want to know.

        5. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

          Agreed. I said as much in a previous comment. How much of the process was completed will be important. Ifnits more than “80%”, he’s screwed. Still, they can charge him with an attempt to manufacture an illegal firearm. That’s thanks to his own big mouth.

  6. avatar Alex Waits says:

    How did the cops find out he was printing what they(the cops) call are calling a gun?
    How can the state prove it’s not a prop?
    If it is such a serious offense, warranting felony charges, why was he released without bail?

    –“a hard black plastic object which, based on my training and experience, is shaped like a revolver,” a cop swore in Vett’s criminal complaint.”–
    Shaped like a revolver makes it a revolver now? JFC.

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      NYC gestapo tip line is my guess.

    2. avatar GunnyGene says:

      Hey, remember Pop Tarts. 😉

    3. avatar Daniel says:

      The State can prove it’s not a prop because he admitted he was making a firearm. “Vett told New York’s finest that he brought his printer to the theater to print a firearm for his brother because his home workshop is too dusty.”

      1. avatar EnDangerEd says:

        But did he volunteer the info before he was Miranda’d or after? They might have to toss everything he said, He will spend the rest of his life in the fishbowl being watched, but would be free to go elsewhere…

    4. avatar 1791 says:

      “If it is such a serious offense, warranting felony charges, why was he released without bail?”

      People are RoRed on felony charges every day in New York. Bail is only set to ensure the Defendant’s return to court.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        So, what percentage show up when required?

        1. avatar Ardent says:

          In a great many cases it is politically and socially preferable to have a person loose but under an arrestable warrant than to have them incarcerated. You cannot control a law abiding citizen, but via selective enforcement and other machinations criminals can be usefully controlled.

        2. avatar 1791 says:

          In my experience the *vast* majority of defendants under felony indictment in New York show up for court. They have too much to lose. Bail becomes more of a problem with misdemeanor and violation charges, especially in DV court. In the instant case, the defendant lives and works in NYC. He has strong community ties and (as I understand), no prior convictions. RoR is warranted.

  7. avatar dph says:

    “Vett told New York’s finest that he brought his printer to the theater to print a firearm for his brother because his home workshop is too dusty.”
    Why did he tell the cops anything? Apparently he has the right to remain silent, just not the ability.
    Also you may have the right to build/make a firearm for yourself, but does that right extend to making one for someone else? Just curious as you can’t have someone else complete your 80% lower.

    1. avatar TrueBornSonofLiberty says:

      First rule of thumb- the 5th Amendment exists for a reason. Never talk to the cops. Demand an attorney. He’s already said enough to cook his goose.

    2. avatar Daniel says:

      He probably thought that saying it was for someone else was a good defense when it’s the totally wrong thing to say. The “it’s not my gun” defense.

      One thing I wondered about is if it’s all your equipment like the printer or a mill for 80% lowers if another person presses the button to start it are they considered the ones making the firearm?

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Does somebody else paying you for the firearm make a difference? I cannot think of a reason why I cannot make a firearm (or a boat, car, or airplane) for a friend if I damn well please, but if I’m going into business I need to follow the rules for businesses.

      1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the Bull, get the Horns" PR says:

        “…why I cannot make a firearm (or a boat, car, or airplane) for a friend if I damn well please,…”

        Actually, Larry, you are federally limited on making a homebuilt aircraft for someone else. The person applying for the homebuilt certificate must have performed at least 51 percent of the work themselves. There was a problem with people hiring professional builders to finish out their Van’s (or similar type) aircraft…

      2. avatar Big Bill says:

        As I understand it (and if I’m wrong, I’m sure someone will correct me), you can, under federal law, make your own firearms, and you don’t need to put a serial number on it.
        However, you can never transfer such a firearm to anyone else, unless you have a federal license to manufacture firearms.
        So, again AIUI, when he admitted his intention to make a gun (which was, we are told, was in the process of being manufactured) and give it to (transfer) to someone else, he admitted to a crime.

    4. avatar Hannibal says:

      If you’re dumb enough to bring a printer to a theater in NYC to create a handgun you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        This is what happens when the unemployment rate goes under 6% (or 5%, or 4%, depending on which “expert” you quote): the “unemployable” become employed.
        This is why we now have pictures of menu items on the ‘cash’ registers in fast food places.

  8. avatar FB says:

    Sounds like good lawsuit for nypd stupidity.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      test case?…

  9. avatar Quasimofo says:

    Ban state pro tip: Maybe just go to the hardware store instead and keep your effort on the down low.

    1. avatar How_Terrible says:

      P. A. Luty published a wonderful book on this.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      Pay cash.

  10. avatar TheUnspoken says:

    Was a already a prohibited person, thus the criminal in possession charge, or did possessing the gun make him into a criminal? Was the receiver finished printing, if not, he might not actually possess anything other than a lump of plastic. 30% lower!

    As soon as the cops show, turn the printer off!

    1. avatar Daniel says:

      I believe he was prohibited because he didn’t have a license to own a handgun which they require in NYC.

    2. avatar 1791 says:

      Under New York law, it is a crime to touch a handgun without a license. There is something clearly illegal and unconstitutional about this law. The 1791 Society is filing a lawsuit as soon as we’re assured that Kavanaugh takes the bench. If people are interested in knowing where our group is going with this, they can contact Frank Panasuk on Facebook.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        I do not and will not facebook. Come back here with donation info if this is starting. Because what you describe is both stupid and unconstitutional.

        1. avatar neiowa says:

          NY law would be “stupid and unconstitutional”. Going on fakebook would be stupid but would not be unconstitutional.

  11. avatar pilot25 says:

    How did they know he was 3D printing?

    1. avatar Daniel says:

      Probably a theatre snitch.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Or maybe everything we do and say online is being watched?

  12. avatar el Possum Guapo Herr Standartenfuher "they think we're making pizza's" Oberst von Burn says:

    He was charged with a felony, if convicted ten years from now he can request a judge restore his pistol packing rights, Request, the judge can deniy that request. So the guy got screwed anyway you like at it.

  13. avatar Freddy says:

    He may have his state right to own reinstated by a judge. But restoration of federal gun rights is gonna take a Presidential pardon.

  14. avatar Ark says:

    Holy shit, dude. Felony charges for trying to print a vaguely gun-shaped lump of plastic for use as a prop. NYC has gone completely batshit.

  15. avatar ‘liljoe says:

    Umm, something is seriously off with the story.

    I 3D print all the time, the room I do it in is pretty dusty… seems weird that that was the reason. Now if he wanted to make a political point and reported himself so this could become a news story I could understand why he brought the printer to work.

    To move the printer, recalibrate the print bed and set up the spool seems like a lot of work because of dust… when I have to move the printer 5 feet I push it off for months if I can.

  16. avatar Gralnok says:

    So, New York’s finest force their way into the backstage area of a theater and arrest an assistant props manager for printing a revolver looking thing on a 3D printer…

    Looks like we have our own little piece of Australia right here in the US!

  17. avatar GunnyGene says:

    It’s all tyrannical bullshit, y’all. No different than tyrants of 1000 years ago prohibiting the peasants from having swords. Anybody that abides by such “laws”, needs to check their shorts to make sure their junk is still there.

  18. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

    would have to print it in stages, of course…wonder how far along it was?
    some photos would be great
    It would be cheaper and easier to just buy a gun…or have someone buy it for you (still illegal, I know)…even if you have to leave the state, probably
    or get an 80% kit and make one
    may be a concern when 3D metal printers are cheap and widely available

  19. avatar JD says:

    The article sounds like they broke it up before he was finished printing. So wouldn’t that be the same as say an 80% lower? Just a chunk of plastic. What’s the charge for that.

  20. avatar Jay Ros says:

    lol that’s what he wore to court?

  21. avatar luigi says:

    I reject your reality and substitute my own

  22. avatar Bill says:

    Wouldn’t the “firearm” need to complete the printing and finishing process before being considered a firearm by definition according to the ATF
    I also assume you cannot print a complete firearm so he would be owning at best a receiver which again is not by definition a “firearm” because it cannot readily expel a projectile?

  23. avatar james says:

    Only a matter of time before ILLEGAL ALIENS ARE successful in
    murdering a Governor of one of the ‘Sanctuary States’.

  24. avatar Alan says:

    In my view, having grown up in NYC, I departed that vale of tears many years ago, there is the strong aroma of Bullshit surrounding this case.

  25. avatar Alan says:

    In my view, having grown up in NYC, I departed that vale of tears many years ago, there is the strong aroma of Bullshit surrounding this case.

    Your response re the above indicated duplication of comment. I see my comment, but without the repeat you make mention of.

  26. avatar Michael says:

    “A free people ought not only to be armed, but disciplined…”
    ~ George Washington
    “No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.”
    “The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws of such a nature. They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes…. Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
    ~ Thomas Jefferson
    “To disarm the people…[i]s the most effectual way to enslave them.”
    ~ George Mason
    “The Constitution shall never be construed to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.”
    Samuel Adams

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