Breakthrough in 3D printing leads to first plastic gun being printed
A group of activists in Austin, Texas, have designed and successfully tested the first fully working firearm created by a publicly available 3D printer.
The single-shot .22-caliber firearm that has been controversially nicknamed the Liberator Pistol was constructed out of 16 parts, 15 of which are plastic with the other part being a regular household nail.
The group behind the weapon, Defense Distributed, was co-founded by six people who see it as their duty “to defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution”.
The director and co-founder of the group, 25-year-old graduate law student Cody Wilson, said they are seeking to create a wiki-weapons, or virtual encyclopedia, which will demonstrate the unregistered firearms that can be designed on a computer and printed out at home using a 3D printer, dealing a serious blow to the debate about effective gun control in the United States and around the world.
The digital blueprints for the plastic pistol have been developed and fine tuned over the past year alongside the designs for a tried-and-tested vital lower receiver for an AR-15 assault rifle and a high capacity magazine, many of which are banned or require registration in most legal systems across the world.
Firearms have been fashioned from a range of materials before but Defense Distributed is now throwing down a legal gauntlet, which proves that a readily available printer can now produce untraceable weapons for the unskilled layman. Their project highlights an emerging lobby of digital open source blueprints for weapons that cannot be successfully legislated against.
The file for the Liberator has been downloaded from the group’s website over 100,000 times in just two days. Legislators worldwide are watching closely and are highlighting the dangers a homemade gun could present to airplanes or situations where it can cause an escalating state of destruction.
Defense Distributed recognises the harm such guns can cause but argue it should be seen as a challenge to an overbearing federal government that has tried to increase control of a constitutionally protected right.