Outrage Over '3-D Guns' -- Made of Plastic and Virtually Undetectable

Monday, 06 May 2013 01:30 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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Controversy has erupted over a plastic gun created from a design fed into a 3D printer — a weapon that could conceivably be sneaked past weapons detectors and create a major security breach at airports, courthouses and schools.

The so-called "3D gun'' was created by a group called Defense Distributed which fed digital blueprints of a working firearm into a unique 3D printer which then casts a hard polymer mold.

It said its initial firing tests of the first gun — created by the printer for a cost of about $8,000 — were successful.

The only non-plastic part of the weapon is a single nail which is used as the weapon's firing pin. That metal pin allows the weapon to escape federal laws banning the possession of undetectable firearms.

Defense Distributed, headed by gun advocates, is reportedly planning on releasing blueprints of the 3D gun online this week — a plan New York Sen. Chuck Schumer slammed as "stomach-churning on Sunday.

“Now anyone, a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage,” Schumer raged at a press conference. “It must be stopped.”

Rep. Steve Israel, a Long Island Democrat, announced he has drafted a bill to outlaw the technology for the use of creating weapons.

According to Forbes magazine, Defense Distributed’s goal is to adapt its method to work on cheap printers.

Cody Wilson, a Texas law student who founded Defense Distributed, told Forbes:

“You can print a lethal device. It’s kind of scary, but that’s what we’re aiming to show. Anywhere there’s a computer and an Internet connection, there would be the promise of a gun.”

The National Rifle Association hasn't weighed in on the matter of 3D guns as yet. A message to the group's press office was not immediately returned. 

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