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May 7, 2013 at 7:16 AM

How to make a gun with a 3-D printer

A nonprofit group called Defense Distributed is providing instructions on how to make a gun with a 3-D printer. The plastic gun can evade metal detectors by leaving out a metal weight. According to this report by MSNBC and NBC anchor/correspondent Richard Lui, the gun can be made in four hours. Defense Distributed is providing the designs at its website, but as of Tuesday morning, the feature was not working.

Defense Distributed calls itself a “wiki weapon project” to defend the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms. The MSNBC report says it requires four hours to print on an $8,000 printer.

On its website, Defense Distributed said its goal is to develop designs for cheaper printers. Here is its stated purpose:

To defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest.

This is frightening news, and not just because it echoes the plot line of the 1993 movie “In the Line of Fire.” (Here is the IMDB recap” of the movie, in which a killer gets a plastic gun through a metal detector and attempts to kill the U.S. president.) We are already worried about terrorists who want to blow up planes with explosives molded into underwear. Now we have to worry about plastic guns? Will our next TSA screening require the removal of all plastic items from our carry-ons?

U.S. Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) has called for a ban on the plastic guns, according to the MSNBC report. I don’t see how a ban is going to survive a Second Amendment defense.

I am an advocate for controlling these weapons in some way, but Defense Distributed makes me throw up my hands in WTH disgust. (WTH = What the hell.) Because the problem with laws is that many are outdated by the time they survive the rigors of lawmaker debate and lawsuits. Trying to stop an army of 3-D printer owners with legislation? If the government shuts down Defense Distributed, another online outfit will pop up. The horse has left the barn.

Comments | Topics: gun control, technology

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