3D Printers Can Build Working Guns

You may blow this story off and say, big deal it won't catch on. But who would have thought a month ago someone would use a pressure cooker as a bomb.

A Texas man has become the first person to successfully fire a real bullet from a gun that was created on a home 3D printer. Sounds crazy? In fact, the blueprint for the pistol is available for free online for anyone to access. And it's legal.

University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, 25, released a video of a 3D-printed gun named the "Liberator" taking test shots over the weekend. The gun is mostly made of plastic, with the exception of two metal pieces: a metal firing pin and a six ounce piece of steel that is required by law under the Undetectable Firearms Act. Of course, the piece of steel that makes the weapon visible to metal detectors, and legal, can certainly be omitted by future hobbyists.

15 of the gun's 16 pieces were printed by a Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer -- the metal firing pin is the 16th piece.

Stratasys, the maker of the 3D printer, heard of Wilson's plan to print a gun and seized a leased printer from Wilson's non-profit organization, Defense Distributed. Forbes magazine reports that Wilson bought the Dimension SST he ultimately used to print the Liberator second-hand for $8,000.

According to Forbes, Wilson is radical libertarian and anarchist who wants anyone in the world to be able to download the blueprints for firearms online and print them. Wilson acknowledges his critics' concerns, but is not deterred.

"You can print a lethal device. It's kind of scary, but that's what we're aiming to show," Wilson told Forbes in a previous interview. "Anywhere there's a computer and an Internet connection, there would be the promise of a gun." The blueprint for Wilson's gun is available for download now and can be used by anyone who has access to a similar 3D printer.

According to the Defense Distributed website, the non-profit organization's primary goal is to develop fully printable firearms and be a hub, or "wiki," for printable weapons. The group appears to be looking for lawmakers' reaction to its mission.


Lawmakers are paying attention.


Sen. Charles Schumer, at a press conference on Sunday, called for a ban on printable weapons, CBS New York reports. Schumer argues that printable firearms would make it possible for anyone who is otherwise unfit to purchase a gun to print one at home.

Schumer wants to amend a ban on undetectable weapons to include a measure that would extend the ban on components like plastic high-capacity magazines.

Keep in mind, guns are made out of plastic, so they would not be detectable by a metal detector at any airport or sporting event. Only metal part of the gun is the little firing pin and that is too small to be detected by metal detectors, for instance, when you go through an airport.