Published in Editorials

3D Printed Weapons and why it’s not a good idea

by on10 May 2013 1622 times
liberator-3d-gun

The internet is awash with articles about the Defense Distributed Liberator and how the US Government had the plans pulled from the internet. Some of the articles are for the decision and others are very much against it. The funny thing is that both sides have a point, but neither have been very good at conveying them. On the one hand information should be freely shared, but the sharing should stop when it opens up the potential for injury.

If you ask Defense Distributed they feel that releasing the blueprints for this is all about freedom and liberty. It is their belief that the laws that prevent ownership of firearms by criminals, the mentally ill and others are all just different means to control people. In fact Defense Distributed’s Cody Wilson wrote:

“The political “discussion” about mental health, the background check, and gun control is invidious and follows a disciplinary desire. Remember that power produces truth. Individual subjects are made administrative objects through a documentary process… The tendency is toward an ultimate result where no one really meets an artificial behavioral “norm,” and all are unfit to own a weapon.”

Sounds patriotic and all, but as most rational gun owners know there do need to be limitations on who “should” own a firearm. It is not about depriving someone of their rights as it is about safety, their own and the safety of others.

Outside of the moral ramifications there were also some legal ones that Defense Distributed appears to have forgotten about. Although many are claiming that the take down request was illegal it might actually have some legal justification. When you are a licensed firearm reseller there are restrictions on who you can sell to and what medium you can sell over. One of these restrictions includes not being able to export firearms without proper approval. As soon as the plans were made available outside the US Defense Distributed violated that law. They also appear to possibly be in violation of the Undetectable Firearms Act of 2011 which limits the production of firearms that can avoid detection by metal detectors or x-rays. Lastly, although most of the articles online today appear to have forgotten this, they made a handgun available to minors which is still against the law in most states. We are pretty sure that at least one of these (if not all) will stick and could results in the revoking of Defense Distributed’s license.

What we found very interesting in this event is the fact that some people want to discount this incident because to really make it work you need a heavy-duty 3D Printer. Even with the high-density plastic used the liberator did not survive extended use. In many cases it fell apart on the second shot. What would happen if someone tried to print this with a desktop 3D Printer? Would they end up hurting themselves? We are betting that there is a good chance they would which makes us really wonder what making this is all about.

Cody Wilson will not get what he thinks he is after with this release even though it has popped up all over the world on torrent including The Pirate Bay. People will download this and someone will be dumb enough to try and use it even without the right printer. We will see someone get hurt and although that was their own fault it will not matter. Instead of gaining more freedom what will happen is restrictions will be put on 3D Printers including who can own or operate them. Remember we are dealing with a group of people that want to control the internet to “stop” piracy knowing that there is nothing that can really do that. This same group already wants to take away the right to legally own firearms, this is like handing them more ammunition in that effort. Because of this misguided desire for “freedom” the rest of us could end up losing access to a very cool technology in the same way that we are all looking at losing our right to privacy and free speech on the internet… Now was making a plastic 3D Printed gun really worth that?

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Last modified on 10 May 2013
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