May 6, 2013
World’s First 3D Printable Gun To Hit The Internet This Week
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Cody Wilson wants you to be able to download and print your own gun from the comfort of your own home. The 25-year old University of Texas law student has created a non-profit organization called Defense Distributed which aims to create the schematics for a 3D printable single-use gun and then make these plans freely available online.
Last October, Wilson and his group ran into some trouble when 3D printer company Stratasys reclaimed a printer Defense Distributed rented to print out the first prototypes. Undeterred, Wilson moved forward and last month was able to acquire a Type 7 Federal Firearms License (FFL), making him a federally licensed gun manufacturer.
Now, Wilson and Defense Distributed are showing off the world´s first 3D printable gun just days before they release the CAD files online. Not surprisingly, Wilson and Defense Distributed are facing some backlash from both politicians and private citizens.
Forbes was able to score an early look at the gun, which was successfully fired in a recent test at a range south of Austin, TX. Wilson calls the single-shot handgun “the Liberator,” and it´s comprised of 16 pieces of printable ABS plastic.
Every component of the gun, save one metal pin, can be downloaded at Defcad.org and printed on any 3D printer. The metal nail acts as the firing pin and, according to Forbes, was added to make these free guns detectable at airports and security checkpoints. It is worth noting, however, that once the blueprints are downloaded from the Internet, users can edit and modify the plans and could even remove this pin.
The modifiable aspect of the Liberator is but one of the frightening prospects of the printable weapon. As it stands, anyone who prints a Liberator is not subject to background checks or any of the other regulatory hurdles set in place to protect citizens. Cody Wilson admits the frightening nature of this gun, but is dogged in his pursuit to see his dreams of a freely available gun come to fruition.
“You can print a lethal device,” said Wilson in an interview with Forbes. “It´s kind of scary, but that´s what we´re aiming to show.”
New York Congressman Steve Israel is one of Wilson´s most outspoken critics and is already pushing for legislation to ban the Liberator and other printable handguns.
In a statement released on Friday, Israel addressed what he believes to be the chaotic and disruptive potential of handguns like the Liberator.
“Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” said Israel, according to Forbes.
“When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago, I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology is proven, we need to act now to extend the ban [on] plastic firearms.”
In an interview with the BBC, Wilson described himself as a crypto-anarchist and claimed the high demand for guns and the power of the Internet has superseded what the government can and can´t control.
When confronted with the likelihood that his product could be used to harm someone, Wilson said, "I recognize the tool might be used to harm other people — that's what the tool is — it's a gun. But I don't think that's a reason to not do it — or a reason not to put it out there."