You can make all the guns you want for your personal use. And you can make a few for other people, even sell a few. But if you give away or sell enough, the BATFE is going to look on that as “manufacturing.” There is no hard and fast number, and it is judged on a case-by-case basis, but especially after learning that this guy printed all these gun with the specific intent to use them in a gun buy-back scam, they wouldn’t be the BATFE we’ve all come to know and love if they didn’t go after him with tongs and a blowtorch for unlawfully manufacturing 62 guns.
If the BATFE declares him to have been engaged in manufacture, he will be obliged (retroactively) to meet all the standards that implies, to include obtaining a BATFE Type 7 Manufacturer’s License and manufacturing in compliance with the 1968 GCA. Besides the unlawful manufacture charge, that last bit is going to get him in dutch because the GCA requires that all manufactured arms be serialized. Not only were his not serialized, he manufactured them with the original intent to transfer them to another party with no plan to serialize them.
And according the the GCA, unserialized firearms are not transferable. They must forever remain the property of the maker. So he transferred untransferable and unlawfully-manufactured firearms in exchange for “gift cards.”
More importantly, this episode lets the cat out of the bag. It thwarts the intent of a gun buy-back if people manufacture guns specifically to capitalize on a campaign meant to get excess and unwanted guns off the streets because the net number of guns in circulation remains the same but there will be less money remaining to buy back guns of legitimate origin. So unless the BATFE nails this guy to a cross, every gun buy-back from here to eternity will be flooded with 3-D printed guns.
You might think this guy has done something exceedingly clever, sticking his thumb in the eye of “The Man,” but I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t end up bankrupted over this, if not in jail.