- Group showcases test firing of a gun made with a 3-D printer
- Self-styled anarchist created “The Liberator,” from plastic, with a nail for a firing pin
- Blueprints for the gun have been posted online so others can duplicate it
- Demo comes as lawmakers are calling for bans on printed handguns
(CNN) — A Texas group run by a self-described anarchist has posted what appears to be the first video of the live firing of a handgun created with a 3-D printer.
The 53-second video shows a single shot being fired from The Liberator, a plastic handgun that, with the exception of its metal firing pin, was assembled from parts made with a 3-D printer, according to Defense Distributed. The gun appears unscathed after the test firing, although the brief clip does not reveal anything about its range or accuracy.
The nonprofit group, founded by 25-year-old law student Cody Wilson, has posted instructions for the gun online so other people can duplicate it.
Wilson fired the gun Saturday and the video was posted to YouTube on Sunday. The group’s self-described “Wiki Weapon Project” is about a year old. Until now, the group had only reported being able to make plastic, interchangeable parts for firearms, but not entire weapons.
The Liberator is comprised of 16 interchangeable pieces, with a nail for a firing pin. According to the group, the barrel can be changed out to fire different kinds of ammo.
Not surprisingly, reports of the test-firing have reignited calls to ban 3-D-printed guns, which critics fear could easily fall into the wrong hands and create safety concerns because they’d be invisible to metal detectors.
New York Sen. Charles Schumer is one of several politicians pushing for stricter legislation that would ban firearms created with 3-D printers.
“Passing this law would not only prevent people from making these parts, it would raise awareness on the issue,” Schumer said Sunday during a news conference. “We’re facing a situation where anyone — a felon, a terrorist — can open a gun factory in their garage.”
It’s an argument unlikely to sway Wilson, who has made no secret of his disdain for the U.S. government in particular and all governments in general. (Defense Distributed makes and sells components with names like “The Cuomo” and “The Pelosi,” to tweak politicians who support gun control).
“This is about enabling individuals to create their own sovereign space,” Wilson said last week to Forbes. “The government will increasingly be on the sidelines, saying, ‘Hey, wait.’ “
“It’s about creating the new order in the crumbling shell of the old order.”
Despite that worldview, Defense Distributed applied for, and in March received, a federal firearm license which makes it a legal gun manufacturer.
Wilson acknowledged in the interview with Forbes that his creation could be used by criminals, but suggested that demonstrating the freedom to create them is more important than trying to stop that from happening.
“I recognize that this tool might be used to harm people. That’s what it is: It’s a gun,” Wilson said. “But I don’t think that’s a reason to not put it out there. I think that liberty in the end is a better interest.”
Defense Distributed is based near Austin, Texas. Wilson has emerged as the face of the group, although many of its members, including the owners of the $ 8,000 3-D printer the group uses, have chosen to remain anonymous.
The group’s future plans include expanding the range of ammunition a 3-D printed gun can fire and making the guns printable with less expensive printers, such as the $ 2,800 Replicator 2 by Makerbot.