Working gun can be made by anyone using a 3D printer
Tim Walker is The Independent’s Los Angeles correspondent, covering entertainment and other concerns from the West Coast of the US. He was previously a features writer and the editor of the paper’s diary column. His first novel, Completion, is being published in January 2014.
Monday 06 May 2013
Gun control activists have voiced fears that the world’s first firearm made entirely with 3D printer technology was successfully fired, and the blueprint used to make it was made available online to download for free.
A group described as the “Pirate Bay of 3D Printing” successfully fired the firearm in Texas on Saturday. Defense Distributed, which spent a year designing the handgun, dubbed “Liberator”, built it from plastic on a 3D printer bought on eBay for $8,000 (£5,140).
The computer-aided design file, or CAD, containing Liberator’s blueprint has been made available by Defense Distributed to download for free – it will allow anyone with a 3D printer to create their own “Wiki weapon”.
A 3D printer operates by spraying layer upon layer of plastic, ceramics and even metals to form complex objects. For several years, manufacturing firms have used the technology to create prototypes and components, but it is now increasingly available to the public – in some cases the price of a 3D printer has dropped to $500. Physical copies of the Liberator, created using the blueprint, would be untraceable: no serial number, no sales receipt.
Defense Distributed was founded last year by Cody Wilson, 25, a law student at the University of Texas, who calls himself a crypto-anarchist. Wilson told the BBC: “There are states all over the world that say you can’t own firearms… [but] technology says you can pretty much be able to have whatever you want. It’s not up to the political players any more.”
Gun control activists fear they could all too easily fall into the wrong hands. Victoria Baines, from Europol’s cybercrime centre, said: “As time goes on, and as this technology becomes more user-friendly and more cost effective, it is possible some risks will emerge.”
Defense Distributed recently received a license from the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which allows Wilson and his colleagues to manufacture and sell guns. However, the organisation has faced setbacks. In the wake of the mass shooting at Sandy Hook, its gun blueprints were removed from the CAD-file search engine Thingiverse. Its account on crowd-funding website Indiegogo was frozen, and 3D printed manufacturer Stratasys refused the group permission to use its machines.
Yet the group has already created a high-capacity ammunition magazine for the AR-15 assault rifle, which it called “Cuomo”, after New York state Governor Mario Cuomo, a leading proponent of gun control. Its 3D printed magazine for the AK-47 was named “Feinstein”, after gun control advocate, California Senator Diane Feinstein.
US congressman Steve Israel wants a ban on 3D printed gun components included in the Undetectable Firearms Act, which bans the possession of any weapon that cannot be detected by a metal detector or X-ray machine. The New York Democrat told Forbes: “All the acts of Congress will not be effective if someone can go to a Staples, buy a 3D printer and manufacture plastic weapons components in their basement.”
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 2 Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassingly brilliant leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
‘Ryan Gosling got someone pregnant and it's not me. Brazil you think you’re devastated…’
Israel-Palestine crisis: ‘We just want it to end… We don’t deserve to live like this’
Israel-Palestine crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...