Create a free Industrial Equipment News account to continue

Ban Lifted on 3D-Printed Guns

You can now print anything from a handgun to an AR-15.

Cody Wilson is the founder of Defense Distributed and the father of the world's first 3D-printed gun, "the Liberator". After he successfully fired the Liberator for the first time, Wilson posted the blueprints online so anyone with a 3D printer could produce their own firearm.

Five years ago, the State Department forced Wilson to take the blueprints off of the internet, because they claimed that they violated International Traffic and Arms Regulations (ITAR). Wilson sued saying that the move was a breach of his first amendment right to free speech and he won.

According to Wilson's lawyer, Josh Blackman, the Department of Justice and the Second Amendment Foundation have reached a settlement. Under the terms of the settlement, Wilson and Defense Distributed are back in the file-sharing business, and can now freely publish essentially a how-to guide for 3D printing guns. The government, which is also on the hook for a portion of the attorney's fees, also stated that certain non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber, like the AR-15, are not inherently military. Although, I would like to see what a 3D-printed AR-15 looks like, from behind.

Second Amendment advocates rejoice and Defense Distributed published a statement saying that DEFCAD, where Wilson uploads and shares the 3D gun models, will be relaunched on August 1, 2018. It states that on that date, "The age of the downloadable gun formally begins."

As you can imagine, the decision has triggered quite the discussion, mostly second amendment advocates debating those who feel it's irresponsible to allow the manufacture of untraceable firearms.

An article in Wired says that the settlement opens Pandora's box for do-it-yourself guns.

In a tweet, Wired Editor in Chief Nicholas Thompson pulled out a quote from Wilson. Wilson said, "The internet will serve guns, the gun is downloadable.” To which Thompson commented, "An absolutely terrifying but important story."

Adam O'Clay, self-described free American patriot, replied, ".Terrrifying?? #Lawless armed #thugs victimizing #law-abiding citizens should be terrified!! #Fascist left #demonCrats threatening to #assault @POTUS @realDonaldTrump's #supporters should be terrified. #NRA #2ADefenders #2A #MAGA #BuildTheWall #codywilson"

Wilson, well, he just tweeted the article saying, "Bad News Travels Fast." He likes to poke the bear.

Some argue that the it is easier and cheaper to just buy a real gun. That, and a real gun lasts longer than the essentially disposable Liberator. It's also more expensive to buy a 3D printer than a gun.

Still, issues with traceability persist as early adopters could lay the groundwork to make a 3D-printed gun more accessible to all, and 3D printers become more available to the public, particularly in hackerspaces and tech shops.

This is IEN Now.

More in Product Development