The world’s first 3D printed gun successfully test fired, to our knowledge, continues to flare spirits as the U.S. government ordered all blueprints for the gun to be taken offline. The creator of The Liberator, as the gun is called, believes the decision is political.
Ever since it was successfully fired almost a couple of weeks ago, the gun invented by law student and Defense Distributor founder Cody Wilson (see photo) instantly split the world between critics and supporters.
Opponents believe the gun’s blueprints could be used by criminals and terrorists to create 3D printed plastic weapons that cannot be detected during regular security checks. Supporters rally behind Wilson and his claim that the weapon showcases the benefits of 3D printing technology and what could be achieved with it.
Wilson says the technology can be expanded for use in areas such as the manufacturing of medical devices or in healthcare, gradually leading to decentralized control. He said he was determined to push the 3D printing technology further in order to exploit its full potential.
And at least in what The Liberator is concerned, the technology is already available to hundreds of thousands of people, as the plans were downloaded more than 200,000 times before the U.S. State Department ordered them offline. The blueprints were first uploaded on Defense Distributed’s website, and then they were hosted by the Mega online service. Both sites have taken the plans down since then.
But this is unlikely to stop them from spreading, as news reports suggest the blueprints are also available on various file-sharing sites, including the Pirate Bay. Wilson said the State Department’s order was political in nature and the online community has responded by sharing the blueprints more than they would have otherwise.
As for criticism that his weapon plans may be used for terrorist activities, Wilson said terrorists could also use weapons provided by the U.S. government. His comment came as other publications pointed out that the government has banned Wilson’s prototype although it is offers free access online to various gun patents, through the Patent and Trademark Office. These patents contain not only blueprints, but also detailed descriptions and instructions, it has been claimed.
What do you think of Cody Wilson’s invention? Should the blueprints for a 3D printed gun be freely available? Will 3D printed guns even work as they are supposed to?
[Image via naij]