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Defense Distributed Has 3D-Printed an Entire Gun 712

Posted by timothy
from the but-how-can-we-infringe-the-people's-right-now? dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes with this snippet from Motherboard with an update on Cody Wilson's Defense Distributed project: "On Friday morning, Forbes's Andy Greenberg published photos of the world's first completely 3D-printed gun. It has a 3D-printed handle, a 3D-printed trigger, a 3D-printed body and a 3D-printed barrel, all made of polymer. It's not completely plastic, though. So as not to violate the Undetectable Firearms Act and guarantee it would get spotted by a metal detector, Wilson and friends embedded a six-ounce hunk of steel inside the gun. They're calling it 'The Liberator.'" (A name I'm sure that Wilson didn't come up with accidentally.)
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Defense Distributed Has 3D-Printed an Entire Gun

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  • by bunbuntheminilop (935594) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:03PM (#43625771)

    The NRA thinks more guns are the answer. Looks like we'll find out if that's true when when we can put a gun in the hands of everyone, rich or poor.

  • Liberator? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:08PM (#43625801)

    They're calling it 'The Liberator.'" (A name I'm sure that Wilson didn't come up with accidentally.)

    Given that the FP-45 was an absolutely *shitty* gun, that might not be a good connotation. The "original" Liberator was literally designed to be a gun you use to shoot someone else and then take their gun. Reloading (after the single shot) required about a minute and a small wooden rod or pencil.

    Even during WW2, they went almost unused. They were supposed to be distributed amongst insurgency (the Polish and French resistances, mainly), but very few of those produced actually made it to continental Europe.

    I suppose the intended connotation was "dirt-cheap gun". The Liberator did cost only a few dollars to produce. But I think, like the actual Liberator, I'd trust this all-plastic gun about as far as I can throw it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:24PM (#43625889)

    Right, the 'smuggling' angle is just to instill fear into citizens to supporting more laws against firearms in this country. Our founderd never stipulated that a 'arm' had to be 'detectable' and in fact, would fully support such a concept if it was possible.

  • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:34PM (#43625927)

    Taking bets on when 3d printers and other 'manufacturing devices' get on the board to be regulated somehow...

    Are you suggesting that wouldn't happen if not for the gun printing efforts? Power lies with the means of production. Democratizing the means of production undermines those who hold power and there will thus always be efforts to resist--in this case to regulate--such democratization.

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@hackish. o r g> on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:34PM (#43625935)

    Especially considering that it's not particularly difficult to manufacture a gun out of metal using more conventional technologies. It's not some kind of space-age, 21st-century device; guns have been produced for something like 700 years. Instead of a 3d printer, why not get a CNC mill?

    The answer, I suspect, is that we're dealing with a gun-nut libertarian desperate to get press for their TECHNO-LIBERATION concept.

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:49PM (#43626009)

    Especially considering that it's not particularly difficult to manufacture a gun out of metal using more conventional technologies. It's not some kind of space-age, 21st-century device; guns have been produced for something like 700 years. Instead of a 3d printer, why not get a CNC mill?

    The answer, I suspect, is that we're dealing with a gun-nut libertarian desperate to get press for their TECHNO-LIBERATION concept.

    Because most people can't afford a CNC mill and you can now buy a 3-D printer at Staples?

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:57PM (#43626059) Journal

    A surprising number of 3d printing projects seem to have been born of the fact that the gutting of domestic blue-collar production means that we currently have a massive glut of geeks who want to make things; but who never had wood shop(and certainly not metal shop, heaven forfend!) in school, and whose fathers pushed paper for a living and weren't in a position to teach them anything about manufacturing...

    There are, undoubtedly, applications for which 3d printed materials cannot be matched by any conventional technique(some of the 'sure, let's just print a highly detailed collagen matrix to build a replacement organ' stuff, or some of the single-piece geometry you can get, along with anything that rewards rapid turnaround on very small runs); but there are a lot of 3d printed objects that are essentially really bad plastic versions of something that could have been knocked together with the machine tools of 50 years ago, never mind fancy CNC gear.

    (And lest anybody think that I'm criticizing from the outside, I'm actually in a pretty similar boat. My grandfather was a mechanical engineer, did it at work, had a pretty serious setup in his basement. We didn't live at all close to that side of the family, so I only really saw it when doing logistics after the funeral. Dad was mostly a white-collar numbers guy, with a little bit of hobby carpentry that tapered off after he had kids. My own education was strictly college prep, and my only machine-tool time was through a university, plus the online services.)

  • by Squiddie (1942230) on Friday May 03, 2013 @08:59PM (#43626071)
    As opposed to the civilian disarmament crowd that only wants weapons in the hands of the rich and connected.
  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Friday May 03, 2013 @09:05PM (#43626095) Homepage Journal

    ... You're just hurting the world of 3d-printing.

    Taking bets on when 3d printers and other 'manufacturing devices' get on the board to be regulated somehow... It's comming. Bet. Bet money. Bet MY money.

    ...Seriously guys, you're not helping. Stop it. Or at least keep it to yourselves.

    Should we blame these people for inciting others to action?

    I don't think that's right. We should put the blame where it rightly belongs, which is with whatever regulation agency decides to ban things.

    Also, should we worry about repercussions before there actually *are* repercussions? Aren't we guessing an extreme consequence here? I mean, do we want to be the "game over, man [youtube.com]" guy from that Aliens movie?

    And finally, should we be calling people morons and dictating their actions in a dismissive tone on the subject of gun control? There are reasoned arguments on both sides - the percentage spread between pro and con arguments is not totally convincing one way or another - certainly not at the p<0.05 confidence level we typically use. We may disagree with their position, but can we say without reservation that their position has no merit?

    Personally, I'm against dictating the actions of others in the first place. I like to hold people responsible for their actions, and these people have done nothing that harms others. The sophistry "they're enabling others to kill" is just that - an emotional narrative with no basis used to sway an argument. If (and that's a big if) others are enabled by these acts, then the others would be responsible, not these people.

  • "My First Rifle" (Score:2, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356) on Friday May 03, 2013 @09:12PM (#43626129)

    My kid will be five soon, and I thought it would be a great present!!!

    I don't what to think when a post like this gets modded up funny.

    A young boy in Kentucky has accidentally shot his two-year-old sister in the chest, killing her. He was playing with a rifle he got for his birthday. The shooting happened in Burkesville, Kentucky as the boy was playing with the 22-calibre 'youth model' gun when it was not realised that the gun was loaded. The children's uncle, David Mann, described the accident as 'something you can't prepare for'

    Five-year-old shoots and kills toddler sister with birthday present rifle --- video [guardian.co.uk] [May 3]

    Here's How the Rifle That Just Killed a 2-Year-Old Girl Is Marketed for Kids [motherjones.com]

    The Crickett website is down.

  • Re:weird (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2013 @09:19PM (#43626165)

    Americas relationship with guns simply seems CRAZY to me.

    Notice how we didn't ask you about it.

    Unlike Europe and Asia, this country was not founded by a conquering king. It was founded on the abuse of authority; we won our freedom because the civilians had guns and formed militias. For a while after that, we kept our freedom because the politicians were afraid that if they abused their authority that the citizenry would not be afraid to use them again. Quotes by people like James Madison sum it up better than I can: "The Constitution preserves the advantage of being armed which Americans possess over the people of almost every other nation where the governments are afraid to trust the people with arms." "I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." "The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home." Of course, members of our government don't feel quite as threatened today, or if they do they don't mention it.

    We also don't have to look back too far in history to see what tyrannical governments have done to unarmed civilians. Germany and Russia in the last century, of course; but Cuba and North Korea still run roughshod over their civilians. We say to ourselves, "we'd never let that happen here", and we mean it.

    When some group says "we have guns because we have the right to hunt, or we need to defend ourselves from crime", they're being disingenuous. We have guns because we want our government to be nervous. We want our police officers to be polite and cautious. The 3AM knock on the door to haul away a political dissident will not be allowed to become commonplace here, because we don't even track the law abiding citizens that have guns.

    Unfortunately, the price we pay is very steep. If it my child were killed in a school shooting, I'm sure I'd feel differently.

  • by fredprado (2569351) on Friday May 03, 2013 @09:32PM (#43626237)
    The civilian disarmament crowd want guns only in the hands of the police and the criminals. The latter is unavoidable no matter how convenient it may be to pretend it is not.
  • by Cyberax (705495) on Friday May 03, 2013 @09:38PM (#43626285)
    Sure. And it's a great way to catch criminals - just make a gun ownership an instant felony. Pretty soon most guns will be confiscated and it'll get much harder for criminals to get one. That's what happened in the UK and most of the Europe - and now they have drastically less gun crimes than the US.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 03, 2013 @09:56PM (#43626409)

    ...drastically less gun crimes than the US.

    Replaced by other weapons of opportunity.

    Honestly it is more complicated than what either you or I just said. There are other issues being ignored. Fact of the matter is, there are more ways people become desperate enough to think violent crime is a good idea in the US than in Europe..save for those nasty bits of it that have far more violent crime than the US does. They are usually ignored too, suprise suprise.

  • by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Friday May 03, 2013 @10:25PM (#43626585)

    At the moment, in the USA, anybody can get ahold of a gun by tossing a wad of bills across at table at a gun show

    Obviously said by someone who has never tried that technique. And probably has never been to a gun show.

  • by I'm New Around Here (1154723) on Friday May 03, 2013 @10:29PM (#43626605)

    Well, this problem can be solved gradually. Lots of other countries had comparable gun ownership and now are comparably gun-free.

    All you need is a constitutional amendment, and your wishes will come true.

    Good Luck with that....

    No, President Obama has shown quite clearly that he doesn't need to follow the Constitution. The 'checks and balances' of Congress and the Supreme Court have almost disappeared. And his supporters, such as Cyberax, expect him to do even more, since over half the country voted for him so he could.

  • by uncqual (836337) on Friday May 03, 2013 @10:30PM (#43626611)

    just make a gun ownership an instant felony

    Which is, of course, only possible in the United States if the United States Constitution is first amended to nullify the Second Amendment. That only takes the approval of 3/4 of the State Legislatures.

    The "amending" step is much harder than the act of making gun ownership illegal (which, itself, would be extremely difficult).

  • by ArcherB (796902) on Friday May 03, 2013 @10:58PM (#43626745) Journal

    All you need is a constitutional amendment, and your wishes will come true. Good Luck with that....

    Or a re-reading of the 2nd Amendment that puts more weight on the "well-ordered militia" clause... I can imagine a future Supreme Court reading that to restrict gun ownership to only those who serve in the National Guard, military, or police forces.

    Actually, that "well regulated militia" part is proof that the Second Amendment was not to protect deer hunters, collectors or hobbyists. It was to protect the citizens from invaders and an abusive government. "Well regulated militia" is completely open to interpretation. My family can make up a "well regulated militia". Understand that at the time it was written, a "well regulated militia" meant farmers who could grab their gun and hit the streets to stand in a straight line and fire en masse. "Well regulated" meant that they all fired when someone said "FIRE!"

    As for the national guard, that can no longer qualify since it is under the control of the federal government. I know, it's not "officially" under the federal government, but I know a lot of guardsmen who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who would disagree.

  • by Entropius (188861) on Friday May 03, 2013 @11:55PM (#43627003)

    Ownership of (enough) heroin is also an instant felony. Never mind that heroin has to be smuggled in from overseas, and a junkie requires a continuous supply -- there are lots of junkies around.

    The reason that Europe has drastically less gun crime than the US has much less to do with the differences between European and American law and much more to do with the differences between Europeans and Americans.

  • Re:Liberator? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gman003 (1693318) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @12:02AM (#43627025)

    Yes, but to achieve *victory* there must be a transition from asymmetric to symmetric war.

    In Iraq and Afghanistan, as in Vietnam, the "occupying force" is not local. It can, and will, leave as soon as the cost (in lives or dollars) becomes too great, or when the political landscape no longer favors it. There, the resistance merely has to *exist*, and to function with some semblance of competence.

    However, in an American revolution, the "occupying force" is local. They have no country to go *back* to. There is no cost too high to defeat the insurgency. The only way to end the war is for one force to establish itself as the sole military force. Either the original army wins, or the revolution grows strong enough to overpower them. Or, alternatively, the guerrilla forces (c'mon, do you really think there will be only one other faction?) manage to dismantle the "occupying force" but none will be able to establish supremacy, leaving a state of anarchy until one eventually consolidates power.

    This is also why wars that start as open military conflict rarely persist long as insurgencies. After losing an open war once, few are willing to fight an insurgency that they *know* is going to have to convert, as some point, into another open war.

  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @12:08AM (#43627039) Homepage Journal

    Haven't you ever considered where this "living document" bullshit about the Constitution came from? If they can convince a critical mass of people that it's true, they won't have to amend the Constitution. They'll evolve it in the public mind and ignore they parts they don't like.


  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @12:12AM (#43627049) Homepage Journal

    "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."

    Learn what you're talking about before you opine.

    I can imagine a future Supreme Court reading that to restrict gun ownership to only those who serve in the National Guard, military, or police forces.

    Only if the general population becomes as ignorant as you.

    Explain something to me. Why would the government need to add an entry into the "Bill of rights" to protect its own right to arm its soldiers? It goes without saying that soldiers would be armed. That's the entire fucking point of having soldiers. Why would they have to enshrine that ability in the "Bill of rights"?


  • by Lord Kano (13027) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @12:15AM (#43627061) Homepage Journal

    Since Obama took office, Americans have been buying a gun every 1.85 seconds. Think about that for a minute. In the time it took me to type this message, that's 20 guns into distribution. In the time it took you to read it, that's 10 guns. In the time it takes you to check the math, that's another 6 guns.

    It's going to take a lot to disarm this country. Thank God for that.


  • by fredprado (2569351) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @01:12AM (#43627255)
    Illusions. Criminals will always have means to get guns, in the same way people can get drugs even though they are illegal. It is a "war" that can't be won.

    Personally I would much rather be able to protect myself than wait for the police to arrive, often after my death.
  • by qbzzt (11136) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @02:00AM (#43627399)

    People who call the constitution "living document" typically seem to be trying to kill it. It is a living document, but it is supposed to be amended through due process.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @02:38AM (#43627515)

    Oh, he has a right not to be killed.

    But as the saying goes... Your right to throw a punch ends at the other man's nose.

    That is what both of you aren't understanding. It ends at the nose. You don't get to rip my arm off because I MIGHT punch a man. My right to throw a punch ends at the other man's NOSE. When I make contact and NOT BEFORE... I have violated that man's rights and my rights in that matter have been exceeded.

    So for example, I can have a gun. And I can shoot that gun. But if the bullets from my gun pass through your body or property then I have violated your rights. I'll even give you the noise pollution argument... so if I'm shooting the gun off at 4 am that is probably a violation of your rights too... assuming I'm doing it for recreational purposes or something.

    In any case, my right to throw a punch ends at the other man's nose.

    Simply being CAPABLE of throwing a punch does not violate anyone's rights. Simply owning a gun does not violate anyone's rights.

    Your desire to be safe does not entitle you to render anyone else powerless unless they've personally demonstrated themselves to be unfit as citizens. Felons and the like can be justifiably disarmed.

    So that's one path to disarming america. Classify everyone as felons. Of course, you'll also disqualify them from voting and get a pretty quick war on your hands. But then you're doing it for the LOLz and that should be pretty funny... in a sick and sad sort of way. But it's the same sort of humor we get out of that thinking. Grim and horrible... but once you get the joke you just can't stop laughing.

  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojo AT world3 DOT net> on Saturday May 04, 2013 @04:13AM (#43627753) Homepage

    Right, it's because Americans think the best way to defend themselves is to overpower their enemies. You have to have your own gun so you can shoot an intruder or mugger. Europeans prefer to call the police and try to scare the burglar off, rather than getting into a fight.

    The result is that criminals come armed and with the intention of murdering you if they feel threatened. Can't just run for it because you don't turn your back on someone who is armed. In Europe they usually flee if discovered.

    I don't know how the US can fix this. It's become an arms race. If you don't have a gun you are at the mercy of those who do. Statistically it is better to not threaten the criminal with your own weapon but to either hide or run for it yourself. Even the NRA acknowledges that in their "how to survive a school shooter" videos.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 04, 2013 @04:59AM (#43627879)

    So, Americans are more violent than the average person on the planet. This would seem like a mighty fine reason to make it harder for them to commit violence by restricting their access to guns.

  • by lexsird (1208192) on Saturday May 04, 2013 @05:58AM (#43628015)

    At some point the intellectual dishonesty of the NRA bashing should come to complete fruition and the Left is going hate it. I factor about the next election cycle when things swing back to the Right due to the ground swell in the grass roots level of this issue, the Left will wish they had hired me to consult for them. lol

    Anyway, we've all pissed around, not came to the table in an intelligent approach to problem solving and this article's issue just might be the forefront of a whole new can of worms that's going to stink to high heaven.

    Factor this into the equation. Printable guns; who want this in a very bad way? Hmm..I don't know, but if I was a bad guy, an industrious one, tech savy, educated, smart enough to avoid the system if they wanted to do something evil. Here is a way to produce a lethal weapon, ranged, possible sound suppressed. Completely untraceable and disposable. Ha! It's probably recyclable, so it's not only an effective weapon, but it's green. It has appeal to the environmentally conscience villain. Oh yes, and thanks to the movies, we know that metal detectors don't work on plastic guns or their parts. Hurray!

    Yeah, inability to work on comprehensive policies is either hallmark of incompetence or corruption. Either way, we are dealing with the possibility of a whole new animal being released into the wild, and we are fucking around arguing about dumb shit like "background checks". What you need is policy that preserves the integrity and spirit of the 2nd Amendment, and places some highly intelligent safety features into play. You can have your cake and eat it as well if you are smart and can work together.

    Here's how I see this kind of animal romping about the countryside. The only hope you will have to contain this is through the tools perhaps, and the plastics used to create this. This will catch the dummies, which leaves the smart guys. They will be able to fabricate this and perhaps come up with their on innovations. Your first bad guys will of course be corporate and government types. This is where the really juicy targets are at. At super high dollar and high level corporate shenanigans, this will make wet work far more elegant, the same with politics. When you are dealing with those resources and those stakes, this will find a nice happy home. On down the food chain it rolls, assassins, vigilantes, crime crews, "militias", you name it.

    But the bullets, you say? Seriously?

    Factor this, if you can print the gun, you can print the simple reloading tools as well. Why not the shell casings and with some modification, even the bullets themselves. With modern chemistry and completely doped up idiots making meth out of common chemicals, how hard will it be for sober people to create a propellant? The variables on that equation get difficult to lock down as any chemical training will probably yield results.

    This is dismaying. Even if we found a bottle on the beach and wished every gun on the planet to be turned into kittens and cheese burgers, we will still have them appear, but now not out of predicable venues, but out of thin air as far as any system is concerned. Let's face it, bad people will have reached their weapon production zenith, while the rest of us flounder around in inept, corrupt politics.

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb