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05/06/2013

American makes gun with 3D printer, releases blueprints

 

It's news that's sure to ease the anxieties of any gun owner worried that their government may make it harder to obtain their weapon of choice: forget about gun shops -- now, you can make your own gun.

A gun called the "Liberator" that was made with a 3D printer has been successfully test-fired in the U.S.

The gun was produced by Defense Distributed, a group that says it wants to "defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms" through "information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms." It is the second to have made the headlines in the past year.

Each of the Liberator's parts were made using a 3D printer, with the exception of a metal firing pin, which is made from a nail.

 

RELATED: Will 3D printing revolutionize the way we live?

The gun made by Defense Distributed, a group headed by 25-year-old law student Cody Wilson, has a piece of steel embedded inside of it so it will be picked up by metal detectors, as required by U.S. laws.

While the barrel of the Liberator is threaded, it's not expected to be extremely accurate -- at least in its current design. The gun uses a small .380 calibre bullet.

The BBC's Rebecca Morelle watched a demonstration of the gun.

Wilson told Morelle his initiative is about "liberty."

"I'm seeing a world where technology says you can pretty much be able to have whatever you want. It's not up to the political players any more," Wilson said, according to the BBC. "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."

Several websites have posted 3D-printable files that link to the design for the gun, allowing anyone with a 3D printer to print the gun although it's unclear - let's say doubtful - that many of those printing the gun in the U.S. would first obtain the federal firearms licence that's required to make weapons.

The website Techcrunch.com reports that home 3D printers can be purchased for as little as $2,000 and notes that "gunsmithing is not a new hobby. However, it just got much easier."

In a play on words that reminds a reader of how the National Rifle Association might respond to the news of 3D printers being made to make guns, one reader notes that "The only thing that can stop a bad guy with a printer is a good guy with a printer."

News of the 3D development spread quickly on social media, with one Twitter user @Quipio suggesting that burglars around the globe would now be on the lookout for this sign:

Screen shot 2013-05-06 at 2.15.26 PM

Meanwhile, five months after the killing spree at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, gun control legislation in Washington is moving slowly, Forbes notes.

For those interested, Wilson's website offers a link for readers to make donations and finance his efforts.

Rick Westhead is a foreign affairs writer at the Star. He was based in India as the Star’s South Asia bureau chief from 2008 until 2011 and reports on international aid and development. Follow him on Twitter @rwesthead


 

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