Just days after the revelation that a libertarian activist and his non-profit group had created a working 3D-printed handgun, the government has apparently put the kibosh on their plans.
According to Cody Wilson, the founder of non-profit organization Defense Distributed, he was asked by the Pentagon to pull plans for his plastic printed gun today. The web site that hosted the design for the gun, defcad.org, now has a banner up at the top of the site that reads “DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”
More than 100,000 copies of the plans were downloaded between Monday, when they were first posted online, and when they were pulled today. Gun control advocates were worried about the ease of smuggling these guns past metal detectors — all the gun’s parts, save for a metal nail that serves as the firing pin — are made from plastic. There is a slot created by the gun’s plans that allows for a piece of metal to be inserted, in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act.
U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., has called for a ban on 3D-printed guns. “Security checkpoints, background checks and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” he said.
Supporters of the plastic gun project, including Wilson, say the gun is ultimately a way of showing how eventually, governments may become irrelevant. “This is about enabling individuals to create their own sovereign space…The government will increasingly be on the sidelines, saying ‘hey, wait.'”
Wilson said today that he believed the takedown request by the government was a direct reaction to news of his successful test and release of the gun’s plans earlier this week. “They asked that I take it down while they determine if they have the authority to control the info. It’s clearly a direct response to everything we did this week. 3D printing is clearly not the best way to make an effective weapon.”
He also added that, because of the way the Internet works, even with the plans pulled from their web site, they are still likely being distributed elsewhere online. “If this is an attempt to control the info from getting out there, it’s clearly a weak one.”
– Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPolitics Editor
The opinions contained in this column are solely those of the writer.
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