3D printing is revolutionizing how we view DIY projects, but the technology itself is blurring the line between creativity and safety. In this instance of safety, we’re talking about weaponries that can be created using 3D printers. Handguns, in particular, are a hot topic amongst regulators as well as enthusiasts who want to ‘print’ out their own firearm.
Starting sometime next week, Cody Wilson, founder of the controversial non-profit group Defense Distributed, intends to make available CAD files that will allow people to print out “the Liberator” hand gun. The printed gun is completely composed of ABS plastic, with the exception of the metal trigger pin and another lump for metal detection purposes. According to its designer, the gun fires standard handgun rounds, with interchangeable barrels to accommodate different calibers.
Anyone will be able to download the CAD files one they are uploaded, but don’t expect regulators to sit still as curious 3D printer owners begin to print out these plastic firearms. Congressman Steven Israel issued a statement on Friday stating that all the gun regulations we’ve put in place thus far will do nothing if people have access to the design and mean to produce plastic firearms.
“Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser. When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago, I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science-fiction. Now that this technology is proven, we need to act now to extend the ban [on] plastic firearms.”
Wilson, however, is adamant about completing his goal of releasing the CAD files.
“You can print a lethal device,” Wilson said in an interview with Forbes. “It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show.”