An $8,000 (USD) 3D printer is capable of printing out a lot of cool DIY gadgets, but it is also a mean for producing things like handguns.
Each day, 3D printing technologies are opening up new possibilities for people at home as well as professionals. Although the technology itself is widely considered advancement for the better, there are those that want to produce things like firearms via those same means. Whatever these individuals have in mind for the weapons, there’s a clear indication that not everyone will follow safety guidelines.
That said, Defense Distributed has demonstrated their 3D-printed handgun’s capabilities, and, unsurprisingly, the gun is almost just as destructive as guns of a more traditional nature.
Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old student from Texas and a main figure behind the 3D printed gun, has been pushing for the release of a blueprint for producing the ‘Liberator’ handgun. Many safety advocates are against Wilson’s decision to release the blueprint, but that probably won’t stop Wilson from releasing the gun’s design. According to him, the gun’s design and its eventual release are “about liberty.”
“There is a demand for guns—there just is. There are states all over the world that say you can’t own firearms—and that’s not true anymore,” said Wilson in an interview with BBC. “I’m seeing a world where technology says you can pretty much be able to have whatever you want. It’s not up to the political players anymore.”
When asked about the destructive nature of his 3D-printed gun project, he said: “I recognize the tool might be used to harm other people—that’s what the tool is—it’s a gun. But I don’t think that’s a reason to not do it—or a reason not to put it out there.”
For now, 3D-printing a handgun is possible, but due to the prohibitive nature of owning a 3D printer not many will be able to fire off their own Liberator anytime soon. Traditional handguns are still cheaper, and perhaps much more easily accessible, than a 3D-printed firearm. Authorities see the risks in allowing Wilson’s design to hit the web, but they also predict that criminals will likely pursue traditionally made handguns as they are easier to find and, of course, no technical 3D printing knowledge is required.