The 3D-printable gun craze is just beginning as the blueprint plans for the new “Liberator” plastic gun were downloaded nearly 100,000 times in just a two-day period this month.
Cody Wilson, founder of the 3D-Printed firearm company Defense Distributed, announced the creation of the first fully printable gun on May 3 and in only a few days hundreds of thousands of downloads of the plans were made from the Defcad.org website.
Despite the large number of downloads, don’t expect the country to suddenly be awash with plastic guns. Few people that downloaded the plans will have a 3D printing machine at their disposal with which to actually produce a Liberator model of their very own.
But the relatively few number of guns that will be produced isn’t stopping politicians like New York’s Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer from raising fears over 3D-printed guns, though.
Schumer quickly jumped before cameras on May 5 to denounce the guns as “stomach churning.”
“Now anyone, a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage. It must be stopped,” the Senator warned.
Defense Distributed’s Wilson courted controversy in another way as he announced the success of his printable gun. Wilson chose Kim Dotcom’s Mega server site upon which to host the plans for his 3D-printed gun plans announcing his solidarity with Mega despite Kim Dotcom’s vocal opposition to the United States.
“We’re sympathetic to Kim Dotcom,” Wilson said. “There are plenty of services we could have used, but we chose this one. He’s down for the struggle.”
Wilson’s media efforts have realized big traffic, too. The debut video of the Liberator plastic gun has been viewed 2.8 million times thus far and Defcad.org reports well over 540,000 unique users to its website.
Last August, Wilson told Forbes Magazine that he doesn’t worry about the possible proliferation of plastic guns.
“I don’t see empirical evidence that access to guns increases the rate of violent crime,” Wilson said. “If someone wants to get their hands on a gun, they’ll get their hands on a gun.”
Wilson admitted that his downloadable, 3d-printable gun opens “a lot of doors. But he was unconcerned. “Any advance in technology has posed these questions. And it’s not clear cut that this is just a good thing. But liberty and responsibility are scary.”
Finally, it appears that the U.S. government is about to make an effort to stop website visitors from downloading the gun plans. A letter sent to Defense Distributed on May 8 from the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, has warned the online company that it is in violation of the law for offering the downloads without first getting permission from the Dept. of State.
The letter demands that Defense Distributed must remove all data “from public access immediately.”
The letter is signed by Glenn E. Smith, Chief, Enforcement Division.