The First Ever 3-D Printed Gun Has Been Fired and Is Perfectly Legal – For Now
Since 3-D printing technology became a reality, the fear of being able to create something destructive has been realized. The first ever 3-D printed gun has been fired successfully, which has a lot of people, including lawmakers, very worried. The other problem is the fact that the gun's digital blueprints can be downloaded for free by anyone who wants to build their own and has access to a 3-D printer, which is perfectly legal. If you are not familiar with 3-D printing, it is basically a process of making a real three-dimensional solid object from a digital model. The 3-D printer prints the object with layers of material, which in most cases is plastic.
The printed gun is a 16-piece firearm made primarily of ABS plastic, featuring a metal firing pin and an embedded metal shank meant to provide enough metal mass to comply with the U.S. Undetectable Firearms Act. The weapon fires a single shot and the barrel will fall apart after several shots, but a new barrel can be printed and fitted.
The gun is called the 'Liberator' and was made by a group known as Defense Distributed and the successful firing of the prototype has created concern on just about every level. As of right now, there is no law prohibiting the 'printing' and distribution of this particular gun, but that could change if some lawmakers and gun control advocates have their way.
The Liberator can be manufactured and sold legally as long as the guns and the gun parts are not fully automatic. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms says it is also legal for the group to distribute the plans to build the gun. The ATF also clarified that any individual can manufacture a firearm for their own personal use without a license as long as it is not an automatic firearm.
This is really pretty scary when you think about it and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wants the Undetectable Firearms act of 1988 brought up to date by banning 3-D printed guns. The problem is that outside of the firing pin, there is no metal in the gun, which means it could easily pass through a metal detector.
Banning these guns would also require manufacturers of 3-D printers to limit what kinds of objects could be produced on the printers and according to some experts, that is not likely to happen anytime soon. The group making the gun says the issue is less about building firearms and more about testing constitutional rights.
Keep in mind that the cost of one of these printers is about $10,000 and requires some training to be able to use one. As stated before, the life of this gun is only a couple of shots before the barrel becomes unusable, but the technology is here and an actual working gun can now be printed very easily unless changes to the law are made and made quickly.
See a demonstration of the gun below.....this is really kinda frightening.