Defense Distributed to Release 3D-Printable Handgun Blueprints, Lawmakers Already On It

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News Posted: Sat, May 4 2013 12:49 AM
Last year, we caught wind of a one-man operation called Defense Distributed run by Texas law student Cody Wilson that was developing a 3D-printable handgun. At the time he was thwarted from prototyping the weapon as the company that leased him the necessary 3D printer, Stratasys, promptly reclaimed the printer. Even so, plans for 3D-printable gun parts such as ammunition magazines and receivers were proliferating online; 3D printer manufacturer Makerbot noticed this trend and purged all gun-related blueprints from its Thingiverse database.

Liberator
The Liberator - Image credit: Forbes

In response to Makerbot’s takedown, an undeterred Wilson launched his own online repository for 3D-printable weaponry called DEFCAD, and according to Forbes, he is close to releasing schematics for a plastic handgun.

The weapon, which he calls “The Liberator”, is comprised of 16 fully printable ABS plastic parts; the only metal parts are a single nail used as a firing pin and a six-ounce piece of steel so it can ostensibly be detected by metal detectors.

DEFCAD

Defense Distributed can also now make and distribute handguns legally; the group apparently acquired a federal firearms license. It’s also interesting to note that Wilson has a sufficient 3D printer on hand now--a Dimension SST from none other than Stratasys.

By dint of the fact that the metal piece is included as a technicality and not part of the actual structure of the gun, one imagines that nobody will bother putting it in. Thus, Mr. Wilson has developed an undetectable handgun that is designed to shoot standard handgun rounds of different calibers (you can print a variety of barrels to accommodate various calibers) that will not have a serial number nor any way to identify the gun’s owner.

For those who imagine that bullets will still set off metal detectors, we’d simply reference the film “In the Line of Fire” (released in 1993 and starring Clint Eastwood). In the movie (spoiler alert), John Malkovich’s character slips a tiny plastic handgun through a metal detector by keeping the plastic parts separate (he puts the thing together blind, under a table) and hiding the gun’s springs and bullets in a rabbit’s foot keychain.

In any case, Congress is reacting to these developments. New York congressman Steve Israel is leading the charge to renew the Undetectable Firearms Act to help curb the distribution of some of these plastic gun designs and also expand it to include aspects not previously covered in the law--such as the aforementioned ammo magazines and lower receivers. Israel may have a big challenge ahead of him, though, as he’ll certainly face the typical opposition from gun rights proponents and other groups in addition to figuring out a way to make the language of the law cover all aspects of a rapidly developing market.
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Typical US Congress, reactionary instead of proactive.

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You cannot reference a dated movie as an example of real world application and expect any sort of credibility. The movie needed this to happen so it did, movies don't like reality to ruin the plot. Maybe you should also look into how metal detectors and security methods have changed in the 20 years since that movie was filmed?

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Michaelwmu, he didn't say the metal parts were undetectable; he said they were disguised as being part of a key chain, which would be put in a box and go through security without a problem. they ask you to empty your pockets before you go through the metal detector. The box goes through the screening on the belt. Do you think they are examining keychains? I've never seen them do that.

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We have nothing to fear. TSA will confiscate the rabbit's foot keychain before anything else.

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You ignore everything else and point out keychains... how about the ammunition? There isn't a barrel on this gun? I highly doubt printed ABS can withstand the pressure and heat involved.

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I would love to see it in action, because like Michaelwmu, I do not believe the plastic will hold.

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I also have serious doubts that the plastic will hold, but the scuttlebutt is that it can withstand one or two shots before needing to be replaced.

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Warsoul replied on Sat, May 4 2013 1:45 PM

This is an single use weapon. Idk about amminition.

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definitely not going to last longer than 1 or two shots. The only thing this has accomplished is making congress go on a massive witch hunt once again...

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AjayD replied on Sat, May 4 2013 11:48 PM

OMG, it's the end of the world!!! Not. Knowing the printable gun has become a reality, I feel precisely 0% less safe than I did before. I am far more afraid of being on the receiving end of police brutality from our exceedingly militarized law enforcement agencies, than I am about being shot by anyone else, printed gun or otherwise.

 

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AjayD:

OMG, it's the end of the world!!! Not. Knowing the printable gun has become a reality, I feel precisely 0% less safe than I did before. I am far more afraid of being on the receiving end of police brutality from our exceedingly militarized law enforcement agencies, than I am about being shot by anyone else, printed gun or otherwise.

I feel exactly the same way actually.  I personally open carry a weapon legally where I live every day, and I get nervous about some cop thinking I'm going to attack him, and shooting me without question.

 

I feel alot more safe being around the other open-carriers in my town than I do around the police, simply because I know that they aren't going to do something bad, and then get away with it.  This is a little town out in the sticks, so the cops here are adjusted to the hunters in town that walk through with rifles on back going up the mountain.  I'm sure if you stuck a city cop out here for a week he would have already shot or attacked someone.

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Clixxer replied on Mon, May 6 2013 12:33 AM

AjayD:

OMG, it's the end of the world!!! Not. Knowing the printable gun has become a reality, I feel precisely 0% less safe than I did before. I am far more afraid of being on the receiving end of police brutality from our exceedingly militarized law enforcement agencies, than I am about being shot by anyone else, printed gun or otherwise.

LoL ain't that the truth. People have been making their own guns for a long time. The only difference is now everyone that has the money can make one. Another thing is how well is the rifling in these? Is it on par with today's? or we talking civil war era where you shoot it 5 ft from someone and happy day if it actually hits them. A daringer pistol is more scary than this.

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