May 12, 2013
Only In Texas: Printable 3D Guns (That Actually Fire)
Cad files for 3D printable guns that actually fire were recently available online and have been downloaded more than 100,000 times since being made available Monday; impressive innovation or impending doom?
25-year old University of Texas law student, Cody Wilson, wants anyone and everyone with access to the Internet to be able to print their own handguns.
He is the creator of non-profit organization, Defense Distributed, which has intentions to distribute schematics for a 3D printable single-use handgun. Online. For Free.
He calls the handgun “The Liberator,” which is ironically the name of a crude single-shot .45 ACP handgun mass produced by General Motors during World War II for use by insurgents in occupied territories, but I digress. (I learned all that on the History Channel! Who says TV’s bad for you?)
According to the fabulous redOrbit.com, “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.”
This Wilson character is dead set on distributing the schematics, and welcomes any and all opposition with a smug smile.
After Stratasys reclaimed the printer, Wilson posted their official letter on the Tumblr page of Defense Distributed that went a little something like this:
“It is the policy of Stratasys not to knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes. Therefore, please be advised that your lease of the Stratasys uPrint SE is cancelled at this time and Stratasys is making arrangements to pick up the printer.”
The company made good on their promise, too. They dispatched contractors to Wilson’s house in a rental van to pick up the printer the very next day.
While I always try to be unbiased when writing about sensitive subjects, I’ve got to admit I like guns. I think it’s pretty neat that 3D printing technology has come this far. A few months back I shared information that Dutch architect, Janjaap Ruijssenaars, was working on a 3D printable house, and I thought that was impressive, but guns?
The unnerving part, for me and every other logical person, is the unlimited access to anyone worldwide. It defies logic and more importantly, law.
A terrorist, someone who’s mentally unstable, a domestic abuser, or a convicted felon can essentially open a gun factory in their basement.
“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.”
In a statement released on Friday by New York Congressman Steve Israel, he addressed what he believes to be the anarchic and unsettling potential of printable 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.
“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.”
He went on to say, “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.”
The hitch for those with ill intent is getting access to a 3d printer, but where there’s a will, there’s surely a way, I suppose.
When discussing this story with my wife, she said simply, “I wonder what his mother thinks.”
Image Credit: Saulius L / Shutterstock