back to article Plans for fully 3D-printed gun go online next week

Defense Distributed, the pending non-profit that plans to make 3D-printed weaponry available for anyone with such a printer, will release the blueprints for a fully-working plastic firearm next week. The 3D-Printed Liberator pistol Here at last – your own printed pistol The handgun, seen by Forbes, uses 16 printed parts …

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  1. Herby Silver badge

    Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

    This fits right into this category. The "plans" are protected as free speech, and anyone can download them.

    Think back to audio and mp3's. If one makes things easy to make instead of obtaining through rightful channels, people WILL build them.

    Of course, these are not the assault rifles, and probably won't last more than a couple of firings, but they WILL work to some degree and eventually will be used. The next thing the government will want to do is ban the 3D printers.

    Sorry, too late!

    1. Richard Altmann
      FAIL

      Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

      Nope!

      The NRA will pass a law that makes owning a 3D printer with the "plan" a nessecitie for every US household.

      A 5 year old boy does not need to ask his parents for a Kinder rifle before shooting his sister. Print,Bang,Done

      1. csumpi
        WTF?

        Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

        WTF are you talking about?

        "the NRA will pass a law"

        The NRA is not a branch of government, so it cannot pass a law.

        "a 5 year old boy does not need to ask his parents for a Kinder rifle"

        And where will he get the ammunition?

        1. Stuart Castle

          Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

          The NRA may not be a branch of the US Government, but they seem to be able to wield a staggering amount of power over the senate.

          1. Danny 14 Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

            At those ranges with that ammo i'd be better off with a wooden plank with a nail in it.

          2. sisk Silver badge

            Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

            The NRA may not be a branch of the US Government, but they seem to be able to wield a staggering amount of power over the senate.

            As they should, if you understand how the American Government is supposed to work and how many people the NRA represents. As a lobby group they probably represent a larger proportion of American citizens than any two other lobby groups combined (I'm guessing, I don't know the exact numbers, but I know that the NRA has a freaking HUGE membership). They are not like the corporate lobby groups who represent small numbers of people (and non-people -- I don't care what the Supreme Court says about corporate personhood) with large financial stores. They represent vast numbers of 'little guys'. American politicians understand that to piss them off is to piss off a not-insignificant base of voters across both major political parties as well as scores of independents.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

          "The NRA is not a branch of government, so it cannot pass a law."

          The way US politicians cower before them, they might as well be.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

          [quote] WTF are you talking about?

          "the NRA will pass a law"

          The NRA is not a branch of government, so it cannot pass a law. [/quote]

          yeah... neither is monsanto but they pass laws all the time... their most recent one is the MPA (aka the Monsanto Protection Act)...

          [quote] "a 5 year old boy does not need to ask his parents for a Kinder rifle"

          And where will he get the ammunition? [/quote]

          they'll be printing that before long, too ;)

        4. Uffish
          Flame

          Re: where will he get the ammunition?

          Probably, according to this survey, on a shelf at home.

          http://www.defensivecarry.com/forum/general-firearm-discussion/142216-how-where-do-you-store-your-ammunition.html

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Meh

        Re: Be careful for what you ask for, you might get it!

        "A 5 year old boy does not need to ask his parents for a Kinder rifle before shooting his sister. Print,Bang,Done" <--- W. T. F. ! Have you not thought about the more abusive government response!

        Let's say some ChemCorp comes forth with a polymer who's catalyst is something as cheap and accessible as water. Let's also say that anyone who wants a weapon that has been too inaccessible in acquisition, now has alternative means to acquire parts. Eventually, the whole "3D Printer" concept is taking to a grand new level and now the those who couldn't afford to before, now can on a mass scale. I know this is wild speculation on the future, but is it not feasible to have a synthetic future for at least Bioweapons and deployment? I think rifles and such are out, but 1 off devices such as bombs and missiles are another story.

        So I have to wonder, who should I be worried about the most: A. Little Johnny that would do something as horrible as kill his sister. B. My rights to the information I may or may not put to good use. C. New found laws that support even further communist "profiling" of anyone with a printer (even if it was non-3d, I could still print out the plans)?

        For the Doom & Gloom minds: Access does not equal intent! If it did, everyone has access to a gun right now, so by that rational, everyone has intent to murder. Now, for the paranoid minds :-): Eventually, these devices and their ilk will open new doors to new laws, regardless if they are needed or not.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      One shot

      One shot short range plastic guns are feasible, they have also been around for a long time. Coupled with caseless subsonic ammunition made out of ceramics or carbon fibre which also exists which will be mightly difficult to detect.

      However, to obtain a multishot device there needs to be a more substantial barrel and working parts and there are substitutes that can be used but probably not printed. Some sort of ceramic or carbon fibre barrel liner.

      At the end of the day, undectable weaponry has been around for a long time, only now the bad guys have more options.

      1. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: One shot

        You could build a ceramic gun that could take the pressures of multiple rounds.

        You could build a ceramic/carbon fiber barrel that could take multiple rounds through it.

        As to caseless ammo, it does exist however its very expensive and its a collector's item. Its not made out of ceramics or carbon fiber, btw....

        The drawback to caseless ammo is that you need an electronic firing device to set it off.

        Ironically while there is fear of the case less ammo, if you wanted to insert an RFID tag/ring or some other biometric feature to the gun, it would be easier to do it to a gun that fired case less ammo.

        There is a reason why the gun doesn't have a barrel ;-)

        The interesting thing about this gun is that you could print it but to be in possession of such a gun would be an instant jail term.

        I think its cool as shit, while I'd be willing to download the plans, I am sure as hell I wouldn't actually consider printing it.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Given that you could do the same thing with a cnc milling machine, I don't see how this is much more than hysteria. There's no novel capability I can see via using 3D printing rather than any other method for shaping material.

    1. Monty Burns

      David, you missed the point

      I don't have a milling machine at home or the knowledge to use one.

      This? Plug in to USB, file>open... Select plans and press Print!

      Also your milled gun makes metal detectors go mental, this wouldn't.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: David, you missed the point

        Doesn't matter about the milling machine, anyone determined enough could just use a drill, files, a dremel, or even an exacto knife set and carve their own from ABS stock. Voila! Xray proof pistol. (I wouldn't fire it, though.)

        It's not like a gun is some super-sophisticated piece of arcane machinery, people have been cobbling together homemade firearms since gunpowder was introduced to the western world from Asia. (just google "zip gun", "pipe gun" or "prison gun" to see a world of home made ordinance.)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: David, you missed the point

          > anyone determined enough could just use a drill, files, a dremel, or even an exacto knife set and carve their own from ABS stock.

          No they couldn't. I certainly don't have the ability to do this and I was trained to use lathes, mills, drills etc (decades ago). There is a fair degree of skill and dexterity needed to make complex parts to exact specifications and the vast majority of the population will not have the ability. It also takes a lot of effort and patience, something which the criminal element isn't generally renowned for.

          On the other hand, pretty much everybody knows how to print a file.

          1. El Zed

            Re: David, you missed the point

            '..No they couldn't. I certainly don't have the ability to do this and I was trained to use lathes, mills, drills etc (decades ago). There is a fair degree of skill and dexterity needed to make complex parts to exact specifications ..'

            Whilst I agree with you regarding accurate use of lathes etc., you're missing the point slightly. A 'zip-gun' class weapon has no complex parts, nor exact specifications and doesn't require machining skills other than fairly basic ones to knock one together (Google zip gun for examples)

            Hell, with very basic drilling, gluing and soldering skills, you can go to Homebase and buy plumbing fixings and knock together a barrelled weapon capable of killing someone.

            It isn't really a question of 'having the ability' to do something, it's a question of 'having the need'. Humans can be pretty inventive when they need to be, especially, it seems, when it comes to weapons manufacture.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: David, you missed the point

            [quote] > anyone determined enough could just use a drill, files, a dremel, or even an exacto knife set and carve their own from ABS stock.

            No they couldn't. I certainly don't have the ability to do this and I was trained to use lathes, mills, drills etc (decades ago). There is a fair degree of skill and dexterity needed to make complex parts to exact specifications and the vast majority of the population will not have the ability. It also takes a lot of effort and patience, something which the criminal element isn't generally renowned for. [/quote]

            i guess you've never heard of a zip gun, then? a piece of pipe, a bullet and something to smack the back of the bullet with when it is put into the pipe end... that's all it takes... you can get various sized pipe at the local hobby shop or even the hardware store... ya don't even need a handle (aka grip) to hold it but i wouldn't want to hold one for more than one or two shots... but a piece or two of board and a screw or two would work in a pinch if you have to have a handle...

            if it takes more than one (shot) to accomplish your task then yer not doin' it right ;)

      2. Ommerson
        FAIL

        Re: David, you missed the point

        What might have escaped most of the people sucked in by the media hype is that a 3d printer isn't some kind of universal assembly machine, and that it can doesn't print double-sided 3d parts, or those with internal cavities straight off the machine's table - some kind of formwork is always required, and in the case of cavities, you're probably looking at a two parts that are then glued together.

        Plug in USB-and-go this isn't.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          Re: David, you missed the point

          > What might have escaped most of the people ... doesn't print double-sided 3d parts, or those with internal cavities straight off the machine's table

          What seems to have escaped you is this part of the article:

          "The handgun, seen by Forbes, uses 16 printed parts that are clipped together"

          16 parts so as to avoid any with internal cavities.

        2. Stevie Silver badge

          Re: David, you missed the point

          " and in the case of cavities, you're probably looking at a two parts that are then glued together."

          No, you are looking at something that is rigid under the heat load of the printing but that can be removed later by, say, chemical action. Sugar sand mixed with small amounts of chinaclay with a smidgeon of moisture would be my first choice to experiment with, because it could be dislodged using water.

          We've been doing this sort of thing since the early days of sandcasting and jewelry-making. No new concepts to come up with. How do you think they make oilways and the water jacket in an engine block?

      3. majortrips
        Facepalm

        Re: David, you missed the point

        CNC = Computer Numeric Control... you just load the appropriate design file, and tell it to go. If you can set the time on your VCR/DVD Player then you can produce a firearm on a CNC machine. No real milling skillset required. The only "skill" you really need to start is be able to follow the Onwer Manual and learn to change the tool and zero the part. Finding engineering specifications for a part is painfully easy, converting the specs or CAD/CAM design to your CNC machines G-code might actually require a few minutes on Google. The bonus? You can make metal guns too.

        Oh, and making guns at home is already legal in US law so long as you do not produce firearms which are restricted by the NFA, nor are you allowed to produce home-made firearms for sale. Technically criminals are not legally allowed to make guns, and if we knew which criminals where making them, we could arrest them. http://www.atf.gov/firearms/faq/general.html#gca-manufacturing

      4. Aitor 1 Silver badge

        Re: David, you missed the point

        But, may I remind you that you need bullets?

        This thing won't work without those METAL parts, and no, an ABS bullet won't kill you.

        As for safety, they should be perfectly safe for a "one shot" gun, if properly designed and tested.

      5. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: David, you missed the point

        "Also your milled gun makes metal detectors go mental, this wouldn't."

        You are aware you can mill plastic just as easily as easier than you can mill metal.

        Besides it's pretty trivial to head down to the local hardware store and buy the necessary pipe, say 1/4" cpvc schedule 80, to build an equivalent or better weapon. You could even fire glass marbles with compressed air so the whole thing could pass the metal detectors or make it into a pipe bomb. Seriously, anyone who needs a 3D printer is severely lacking an imagination or never saw a youtube video of a compressed air potato cannon or Punkin Chunkin' competition.

        With all that said, can we at least be honest and admit that the likelihood a criminal is going to go through the trouble is nil when he can go out and buy a throwaway gun for $25 in a back alley with no paperwork and the serial number pre-ground down that he can probably sell the next day for the same money? Adding a billion more laws that say it's illegal in a slightly different way than the existing laws that already say it's illegal won't change any of that and neither will a congresscritter getting his panties in a twist over printed plastic single use(?) junk. It would have to be pretty cheap to compete with the virtually free and resalable black market piece.

      6. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: David, you missed the point

        Milled *metal*? Milling machines work just fine on common structural plastics, too... and there are g-code machines and other fully computer-controlled micromills available.

        For that matter, a milled plastic part is often structurally and thermally stronger than a thermoplastic extruded part.

      7. Otto is a bear.

        Re: David, you missed the point

        Um, think you'll find that there are milling machines that you can plug into a USB port as well, and for a similar cost, I'd be surprised if some highly responsible and socially aware US arms manufacturer hadn't already made the control files available on the internet.

        BTW - If a plastic pistol is likely to shatter the first time you fire it, wouldn't the designers and distributers of the print files be really, really exposed to all kinds of law suits to those dumb enough to trust a download file to make a gun. I would guess that the print process would take at least 50 hours in total, and who knows what glitches might happen. After all what could possibly go wrong with the build quality, answers on a postcard to Cody I think. I'd love to see the disclaimers.

      8. damian Kelly

        Re: David, you missed the point

        Why would a milled PLASTIC gun make a metal detector go mental? The OP said nothing about milling in metal.

        BTW a CNC mill costs a few grand, is a proven technology and trivial for anyone to make 3d shapes in any material. I could make a passable gun with 3 grands worth of machinery I have in my garage. A mill, lathe and piller drill are plenty. And whats more it would work and not blow up in my hand. A gun is a trivial machine to make.

      9. Christopher E. Stith

        Re: David, you missed the point

        Apparently do you not only not know how to using a milling machine. You also don't know that it's possible to mill plastic or that milling machines have been CNC-ready for years before at-home 3D printers. You can get a ready-made CNC tabletop mill for around the same price as a 3D printer. It's just subtractive shaping rather than additive. Here's one model: http://www.robotshop.com/sherline-5400a-cnc-tabletop-vertical-mill-package-1.html

      10. Sigh Borg
        Holmes

        Re: David, you missed the point

        No, I think you missed the point. A milling machine can be used to shape and bore virtually any material (plastic, glass, stone, ceramic) in addition to metal. So can a drill motor, hand tools or numerous other implements. David's point is, restricting how a firearm is made is not going to stop somebody from making one. Firing a bullet or shotgun load is not rocket science. Please stop trying to save the world with yet more dim-witted new regulations and bans. Hint: Criminals don't abide by codes and ordinances. That's why we call them criminals.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge
          Go

          Re: David, you missed the point

          oh, and CNC milling machines are NOT mad expensive. We paid £3000 for our denford (we needed to pick it up ourselves) you can get micromills even cheaper which would be big enough (we already use micromills mainly for balsa proofs and models).

      11. MrAlvin
        Boffin

        Re: David, you missed the point

        Did you ever use a 3D printer, that prints with the filament technology used here?

        I have, for the past 3 years.

        I have made several RepRap style printers, and it is NOT easy to get the print quality that is shown here. There is a reason that a second hand Stratasys printer has been used!!! And not just any $500-$1500 RepRap style printer!

    2. Gene Cash Silver badge

      CNC milling machines are expensive as hell compared to 3D printers, and not that easy to use, even if you already have a tape describing gun parts.

      1. The Axe

        Rent

        CNC milling machines might be expensive to buy, but why limit your thinking to just that path. You can rent, hire, or just ask a company to make one for you.

        As for not having a CNC machine, many don't have a 3D printer either. In fact there are fewer 3D printers in the world (at the moment) than CNC machines. They will be overtaken as 3D printing takes off (thanks to the publicity like this), but for now it's still easier for someone to go to a company with a 3D printer or CNC milling machine then to do it themselves.

        1. Ommerson
          Go

          Re: Rent

          isn't this precisely what you friendly neighbourhood Hackspace or modelling club is for? Access to machine tools one wouldn't otherwise be able to buy ;)

      2. the J to the C
        FAIL

        Its not as clear as that, you could have a CNC up and running for less than £300, try getting a 3D printer fot that cost. you can even double the CNC build cost and build if from off the shelf parts and still be cheaper than a 3D printer

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          FAIL

          @the J to the C

          you could have a CNC up and running for less than £300, try getting a 3D printer fot that cost

          Fail yourself. My 3D-printer, a Mendel90, has ended up costing roughly £350, and there were several ways I could have shaved those 50 quid from the bill, like scavenging printers and scanners for materials, something I simply couldn't be bothered to do.

          1. the J to the C
            FAIL

            Re: @the J to the C

            Its all about context, the topic here is the printing of a gun, not a 3D model that kind of looks like it could be something in the right light, while your £350 3D printer is something of a toy its not really going to be able to produce a gun the same as a CNC machine.

            it kind of like saying that you can build a car for less than £50, sure you could but it cant do the indy 500

            1. Stoneshop Silver badge
              Headmaster

              Re: @the J to the C

              Nope, you said that 300 quid wouldn't get you a 3D printer. No statement modifiers to the effect that that 3D printer would have to be able to print a gun that would be comparable to a milled one. And the gun under discussion here CAN be printed on that £300 printer, no ifs and buts.

      3. majortrips

        Table Top CNC machine cheaper than 3D Printers

        The price you pay for a 3D printer is going to be relative to the bed-size and the resolution. For production of a firearm, you will pay more for a 3D printer than you will for a habbiests table-top CNC machine which is more than good enough for the Liberator, and your tolerances will be much better on the cheaper CNC machine.

    3. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Keep calm and carry on hysterizing!

      > Given that you could do the same thing with a cnc milling machine

      But this one pushes the buffoonic buttons of democrats in far more efficient manner. Now they can show they are caring because 3D PRINTERS WILL MAKE SURE THERE WILL BE DEAD CHILDREN EVERYWHERE. Now there is something to ban again.

      Anyway, wasn't there a movie with Clint Eastwood about plastic gun building to kill the prez?

      1. nanchatte
        Thumb Up

        Re: Keep calm and carry on hysterizing!

        >>Anyway, wasn't there a movie with Clint Eastwood about plastic gun building to kill the prez?

        Yup. In the line of fire with John Malcovich playing a post-breakdown SS turned assassin... Kinda reminded me of an Americanized version of Day of the Jackal.

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        Re: Keep calm and carry on hysterizing!

        "3D PRINTERS WILL MAKE SURE THERE WILL BE DEAD CHILDREN EVERYWHERE. Now there is something to ban again."

        Not to sound callus but so what?

        During his speech on the subject President Obama said there had been 33 mass shootings from 1983-2013, IE more than 1 a year.

        But when the time came to vote for even minimal federal gun control requirements nothing happened.

        "Anyway, wasn't there a movie with Clint Eastwood about plastic gun building to kill the prez?"

        I prefer the one with Harrison Ford as the President where he also gives a speech. It begins

        "The dead remember our silence."

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Unhappy

          Just to be clear.

          My point was that guns in the US do pose an ongoing danger.

          This is not a theoretical hazard of widespread gun ownership, it's already happened 33 times in the last 30 years.

          Despite this when push came to shove the Legislature lined up with the gun lobby and voted for "freedom," as they would no doubt put it.

          OTOH imagine if someone rounded up all those school kids of Senators Congresspeople and shot them Tthere aren't that many given their average age but there should be a decent number. Not even killed, just a flesh wound.

          You can bet that law would go through in a day.

          .I'm not against hones law abiding people owning guns anywhere.

        2. Matthew 3

          Re: Keep calm and carry on hysterizing!

          "... there had been 33 mass shootings from 1983-2013, IE more than 1 a year."

          That browser has a lot to answer for...

      3. heyneighbor

        Re: Keep calm and carry on hysterizing!

        In the near future, you may want to keep an extra eye on those kids down the street playing cops and robbers.

        Who needs Daisy when you can print your own "toy" pistol?

    4. SuccessCase

      "Given that you could do the same thing with a cnc milling machine, I don't see how this is much more than hysteria"

      Can't agree with that. Most people would have to involve another party to get a gun machined. But 3D printers are set to be commonplace. Hell you could print out a gun for the evening without anyone knowing carry it with you while you do the thing you need protection for, then burn it the next day and nobody will be any the wiser. Talk to any policeman. Opportunity is a huge factor in criminal behaviour. So are you saying this is not a concern when your average South London teenage "Gangsta" (read "ignorant idiot with a teenage hormone overdose") gets the opportunity to acquire a gun at the snap of his fingers?

    5. hplasm Silver badge
      Terminator

      The point is-

      Any idiot can make stuff now.... after someone has done the skilled bit once.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: The point is-

        [quote] Any idiot can make stuff now.... after someone has done the skilled bit once. [/quote]

        ummm... seems to me that the idiots have been making stuff since time began... one can also check records from at least the '20s to modern day and find incidents of folks making and using their own projectile weapons... kinda makes ya wonder who the inventor of the zip gun is, eh? ;)

        1. hplasm Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: The point is-

          Mr Zip...

    6. Ian Hammond

      I think the issue is more that the plans are going to be easily available to be used on readily and cheaply available equipment.

      Could you do this on a CNC mill? Absolutely. Does average Joe have the money to go buy one? Probably not. :-p

    7. heyneighbor

      I doubt your neighbor has a cnc ready to crank out plastic guns...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        down voted because 5 of my neighbors within shouting distance all have CNC machines and they do mill both metal and plastic parts... turning out a gun of some sort is a no-brainer...

    8. GENGHIS7777

      @ David W: [quote]Given that you could do the same thing with a cnc milling machine, I don't see how this is much more than hysteria. There's no novel capability I can see via using 3D printing rather than any other method for shaping material.[/quote]

      The danger is its accessibility and the proliferation of such weapons in the hands of potential radicals who wouldn't otherwise have the means to smuggle arms into public areas where they can cause mayhem. A CNC milling machine is rather difficult to hide. A 3D printer is much more conceal-able.

    9. jdieter

      stupid

      A gun is nothing more than two holes in a piece of metal. You can literally make one with a drill in about 8 seconds. One hole for the projectile (barrel) and a touch hole to set it off.

    10. Muskiier
      Paris Hilton

      What about the trees

      We already print too much. It's so environmentally wasteful. Now we're printing guns. Where will we file them all? Can't we just scan our guns and store them digitally? And, what if I'm under attack and I desperately need a gun? Will I still be able to print one if the cyan cartridge runs out but the other colours are still full?

  3. Richard Boyce

    If it's possible...

    ... to make working, albeit low quality, guns from plastic, why don't we see these being made in the third world using standard techniques at very low prices?

    Is it that anyone sufficiently well organised to make and sell them is subject to political pressure, or is it that more effective second-hand guns made of metal are also very cheap to buy?

    1. Steve Brooks

      Re: If it's possible...

      Because homemade guns are already widely available made from cheap easily obtained parts that are proably more accurate and last longer. The point with these is that they are undetectable using your standard metal detector, unlike your regular homemade guns. Single shot homemade weapons have even been made in prisons.

      Being well organised to make them is irrelevent, it only needs one person, one computer and a 3d printer, so any terrorist can make them privately. But this doesn't mean we should ban them or anything, all that will result from that is the terrorists will be the only ones carrying them, oh apart from the intelligence agencies of most countries. It might be useful if they were out there so that our border security personal can see them and tell the diffreence between a homemade gun and a fancy wobbly electric dildo, but then again speaking of border security personal.......

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh puhleeze.

        the terrorists will be the only ones carrying them

        Yawn, here we go again. Although I agree that publishing this crap comes high on the list of idiotic ideas you really ought to reconsider, I doubt this will be a terrorist hit.

        The reason: you need to be very, very good to be able to rely on a single bullet alone. The reason most idiots prefer to lay down a layer of lead is because few can shoot accurately enough to make single bullets matter, and I somehow doubt you'll have much chance for a reload. In addition, the lack of a decent barrel further decreases accuracy.

        Personally, I'm more worried about kids trying this out. It is in the nature of children to experiment. Kids tend to be quick learners when it comes to technology, but their awareness of consequences doesn't develop at the same pace - that's why we need to protect them so they survive that stage :). This is not helping.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Pirate

          Re: Oh puhleeze.

          that's why we need to protect them so they survive that stage :). This is not helping.

          Still, people clearly enjoy making, or trying to make, new ones (kids, that is), so I don't quite understand the reasons to keep kid loss at a minimum.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh puhleeze.

          So if one was being held to your head, you'd be relaxed in the knowledge that there isn't much chance for a reload and the accuracy isn't great.

          1. Martin 71 Silver badge

            Re: Oh puhleeze.

            You have a point but if they're close enough to hold it to your head, many MANY things can be lethal. The problem isn't the actual object, it's the user.

            And no, I'm NOT one of the 'guns don't kill people' brigade, I am usually fairly rabidly anti-gun, but this isn't a problem at all that I can see. Just someone trying to set off mass hysteria.

            It'd be fairly trivial to modify an air pistol (.22) to fire a .22 cartridge, and nailgun cartridges would fit along with a pellet. And it'd likely survive a couple of firings if the pistol was well made. That's why actually doing so has such huge penalties.

            In short, this isn't really anything new, just a new method, that may endanger the experimenter (someone else has already mentioned kids liking to experiment).

          2. Tom 35 Silver badge

            Re: Oh puhleeze.

            But if they are pointing it at some one else's head, I'm quite safe, as are any other people around.

            Now if they are on the other side of the street with an AR15 then we are all screwed.

        3. Horridbloke
          Alert

          Re: Oh puhleeze.

          "you need to be very, very good to be able to rely on a single bullet alone"

          This design is an early version. Who's to say future designs won't incorporate a magazine?

          (Okay, having the gun survive multiple shots will be a challenge.)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Oh puhleeze.

            "you need to be very, very good to be able to rely on a single bullet alone"

            This design is an early version. Who's to say future designs won't incorporate a magazine?

            Let's have a panic THEN, shall we? Sjeez..

        4. Tom 35 Silver badge

          Re: Oh puhleeze.

          This is just a distraction designed to shift talk away from things like large magazines. This thing is no better then a zip gun.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it's possible...

      1. Because it is ridiculously, insanely cheap to buy "real" weaponry. This site is has pretty good data (including citations): http://www.havocscope.com/black-market-prices/ak-47/.

      2. People in conflict zones *do* make their own weapons in the way you describe. See here for some examples: http://englishrussia.com/2007/06/04/chechen-self-made-weapons/

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If it's possible...

      > Is it that anyone sufficiently well organised to make and sell them is subject to political pressure, or is it that more effective second-hand guns made of metal are also very cheap to buy?

      Its cheaper and more effective for the third world to make AK-47 assault rifles. Production only costs a few dollars per rifle and it is a very reliable weapon. Also the materials (metal) are readily available and very low tech so there is no dependency on any third party.

  4. Richard Boyce
    Unhappy

    The NRA will love this

    I imagine that the NRA's commercial sponsors will be very happy to promote this as a threat. Nothing sells guns (laws permitting) like fear and guns create a lot of fear, especially with a little professional help.

    1. greekdish
      Alert

      Re: The NRA will love this

      NRA or sponsors dont promote anything as a threat nor do they create fear or hysteria. You obviously dont know anything about the issues.

      The NRA is sponsored by American citizens....about 98% of their funding is from membership dues.

      1. Franklin
        FAIL

        Re: The NRA will love this

        "The NRA is sponsored by American citizens....about 98% of their funding is from membership dues."

        Do you have a source for that? According to Bloomberg, that's so blatantly untrue that not only are it and the truth not in the same ballpark, they aren't even on the same continent.

        "From 2004 to 2010, the group’s revenue from fundraising -- including gifts from gun makers who benefit from its political activism -- grew twice as fast as its income from members’ dues, according to NRA tax returns. [...]

        Combined, sources such as fundraising, sales, advertising and royalties produced about $115 million in 2010, just over half the NRA’s $227.8 million in income, according to the group’s tax return. Most of the rest, about $100.5 million, came from membership dues. Other sources included program fees, sales of assets, investment income and subscriptions."

        1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: The NRA will love this

          that's so blatantly untrue that not only are it and the truth not in the same ballpark, they aren't even on the same continent.

          Quality..

      2. Naughtyhorse

        Re: The NRA will love this

        "The NRA is sponsored by American citizens.."

        lol

        fuckwit

  5. Turtle

    Match Grade Accuracy.

    "With its ultra-short barrel, the Liberator looks about as accurate as a Fox News daytime TV presenter, but politicians are already worried."

    The inference seeming to be that, because the ultra-short-barrel version is inaccurate, we needn't worry because any rounds fired will miss their target, and hit random bystanders instead.

    Riiiiight.

    1. Naughtyhorse
      Thumb Up

      Re: Match Grade Accuracy.

      yeah!

      but its called the liberator man!

      jevus will guide my bullets to the muslim commie commander in chief!

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Longevity?

    With the great heat and pressure associated with firing a bullet, is this thing a one shot deal?

    1. Roger Stenning
      Flame

      Re: Longevity?

      Frankly, I'm of the opinion that this is anti-style hysteria; the thing it completely unsafe to use as designed,

      SO, forget longevity, and think survival. Without a properly produced chamber and barrel (how so ever short), this thing will blow up the moment you try to fire anything, be it a live round or a blank, from it. A blank will, likely as not, merely burst the thing open; a live round will definitely cause it to explosively shatter.

      Without the addition of some of the metal parts of a more traditional firearm (chamber and barrel) that are made out of materials that can stand up to the pressure and heat produced from the detonation of the propellant in ammunition. Give us all massive advances in materials science, and maybe, just maybe, at that time, you might be able to 3D-print a firearm; until then, anything you might produce on your 3D printer will be a fairly silly toy.

      I imagine the first clown that tries this thing without the proper chamber and barrel might wind up, assuming he or she survives the experience, suing Defense Distributed - they might even win such an action, too, since this is the USA we're talking about - this, assuming that they fail to make it to the Darwin Awards next year, of course!

      As to detection by airport security - they can detect a child's plastic toys on the airport x-ray machines; they've had this capability for years, so I fail to see what the hullabaloo is about there, either.

      All in all? It's people running around waving their hands in the air, and screaming "The Sky's falling!".

      1. The Axe
        FAIL

        Re: Longevity?

        It's a bit more than a single use weapon. If you read the previous reports into the story you will find that they did initially start off with a single use one, but after re-designing etc, they can now use it multiple times. Still not as long a life as a real metal gun though.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Eddy Ito Silver badge

          Re: Longevity?

          "they did initially start off with a single use one, but after re-designing etc, they can now use it multiple times"

          If you pay attention to the previous reports you will find they were talking about a different item, namely the AR15 lower receiver and not this smooth bore one shot wonder.

      2. Mike Manes
        Unhappy

        Re: Longevity?

        However, it actually works. In one demo, it was able to get off 5 rounds before it jammed, and it never blew up in the gunman's hands.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Longevity?

        This thing has been test fired already!

        Currently they appear to use .22 rounds (I think I read that it is centre fire rather than rim fire, but will stand corrected) and one of the larger calibres as well (not as big as a 9mm etc.) If you look at the bore of the barrel, it is a standar size. If you look at the thickness of the plastic, its about 5cm for the .22!

        Would I shoot one single shot... Yes. Would I shoot one round after round (remember this is a single shot weapon) - Hell no! (well not until I had seen that barrel would not distort and warp.

        Forget the legalities for a moment, just think - even the manufacturers said "It cant be done" - Well, it has, now lets look at this technology and see what else we can do with it. What else can we make with them?

      4. gun

        Re: Longevity?

        That's weird because i'm pretty sure this gun was successfully fired this weekend?

      5. SonofRojBlake
        FAIL

        Re: Longevity?

        "this thing will blow up the moment you try to fire anything"

        You missed the story that was all over the news about it being successfully test fired, then?

    2. Naughtyhorse
      Holmes

      Re: Longevity?

      prolly an 0.25 shot deal.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "With its ultra-short barrel, the Liberator looks about as accurate as Eadon, but politicians are already worried."

    1. Steven Roper
      Trollface

      Eadon's really got you people balls-out fired-up hasn't he? Every time one of you idiots rants about him, he scores. He must be laughing his arse off about how he's rustled the Reg community's jimmies to the extent he has.

      Well done, Eadon! You have my admiration sir. You've achieved in a few months what I've failed to pull in 7 years of trolling El Reg!

  8. Steen Hive
    Facepalm

    Brassed off

    So your plastic gun can sneak past metal-detectors. Are the ammunition casings made of cream cheese, or something?

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Have an upvote, I have to admit that didn't occur to me. I have no objections to responsible people owning and using guns with good intent. It's the mentalists that worry me, making it potentially easier for them to own and conceal a weapon it going to raise eyebrows. So I guess the question is, can they print or cast plastic or ceramic rounds that would work?

    2. Death Boffin
      Boffin

      Re: Brassed off

      The cartridge has very little metal in it. You have more metal in your zipper, underwire bra, or studded jeans than is in a cartridge. The metal detectors have to be set so these things do not set them off all the time. Otherwise, you would be getting a feel-up from the TSA on a much more regular basis.

      1. Steen Hive
        Meh

        Re: Brassed off

        So, you are basically saying that getting lead slugs through security depends on having a button-fly, small tits and good fashion sense?

        Having all of the aforementioned in no way stops the small screws in my knee setting detectors off more often than not.

    3. Mephistro Silver badge

      Re: Brassed off

      "Are the ammunition casings made of cream cheese, or something?"

      You got a good point there. but the cartridges are smaller and easier to hide, e.g in a hollow metallic hairbrush handle. or inside a metallic toothpaste tube. And you could hide a 'proper' steel barrel camouflaging it as another metallic handle.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: Brassed off

        "You got a good point there. but the cartridges are smaller and easier to hide, e.g in a hollow metallic hairbrush handle. or inside a metallic toothpaste tube. And you could hide a 'proper' steel barrel camouflaging it as another metallic handle."

        But you don't have a point! Nobody seems to have a point! WTF is going on here people? AAARrrrgggghh! :-)

        Everyone is under the impression that this is 1982 and detection systems are solely based on material, not dimensions. Metal or not, that object will be detected as a potential weapon as long as the software knows to match it (which it would, being it's similar to any snub nose).

    4. Jim Birch
      Holmes

      Re: Brassed off

      An airport metal detector relies on magnetic induction to detect metal. Small pieces of magnetic metal - iron, cobalt, steel, nickel - go through a detector. As do non magnetic metals including lead, chrome, zinc, copper, aluminium, tin. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and is nonmagnetic.

      AFAICS this is likely to result in other scanning methods being used that do shape detection. However, it should be possible to print these guns to look like other friendly things. Tricky.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Brassed off

      You never know, maybe someday they'll discover a non-metallic material that can deform under pressure to produce a seal. http://www.gunsamerica.com/blog/plastic-cased-ammunition-from-pcp-ammo/

    6. gem

      Re: Brassed off

      Most 'metal' detectors only detect ferrous metals. They do not detect brass or lead. I know many people that have taken bullets through metal detectors undetected.

    7. PineyCreek

      Re: Brassed off

      Amazingly, you can buy ammo in different locations.

  9. This post has been deleted by its author

  10. This post has been deleted by its author

  11. Arachnoid
    Thumb Down

    I fail to see the difference between making a potentially lethal device with a 3D printer or any other easily programmable workshop machine so its all a storm in a tea cup.Mind those china items will be banned too shortly as some US politicians don't like tea party's now do they...

  12. LaeMing Silver badge
    Go

    Takes me back to high school.

    When a boy from my class turned up after a week away to sheepishly admit he had found a bullet, put it in a vice held a nail in the firing dimple with a pair of pliers and hit the nail with a hammer. His ears had needed medical treatment.

    I feel this device will be good for the human gene pool, overall.

    1. Mark Allen
      Facepalm

      Re: Takes me back to high school.

      We must have gone to school with people from a similar gene pool. I was in class with a couple of guys at school who had a starting pistol round. When smashing it with a pair of pliers onto the desk didn't work for them, they turned to the hot soldering iron instead....

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Takes me back to high school.

        You both have horror stories because you are the "intellectual" types. You need to stop those types from trying to make anything! Remember, they don't make things, they design them! They pay people to make things for them for a reason. What you need is a class of "engineering" types, not intellectuals.

        If you would like to try out a redneck engineering level, I can make you up a zip-gun in a zip! I can teach you to fabricate almost any material into almost anything you want. Some objects and materials a redneck can't due, I just can't reliably sustain anything over 480v.

        1. Ommerson
          Go

          Re: Takes me back to high school.

          One of my mother's friend's sons was quite wayward and getting into all kind of trouble. He had already build a home-made chemical balance for the express purpose of getting the stoichiometric ratio for black-power *just* right.

          Naturally he progressed onto making a projectile-weapons. His novel design used an empty (of gas) Sodastream CO2 cylinder which he packed with black-powder and a fuse-wire detonator. In the neck of the bottle, he placed a projectile carefully machined to be a tight fit.

          He tried this in some woodland near his house. Results: Not much of the gas cylinder remained, but the bullet was almost precisely where had been. And the police got very interested.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Takes me back to high school.

      I must admit that when younger, with my father, we removed the bullet from an ancient .303 cartridge that he had with a pair of pliers. Thinking back on it, it was a real round. I found the cartridge again the other day (think its the same one) - has a 1917 headstamp.

  13. larryk78
    Flame

    Destructibility not detectability, the major issue?

    Amateur spies may dream of 3D-printing plastic guns to get through airport security undetected, but isn't it going to be more of a problem for regular, ground-based police that plastic weapons can be destroyed by fire?

  14. Duffy Moon
    Pirate

    Ammunition?

    Presumably ammunition has to be made of metal and isn't printable with a plastic printer and is detectable by a metal detector. Presumably airports can detect explosives i.e. cordite as well. A gun without ammunition isn't too deadly.

    If this pistol is inaccurate, it would probably be easier to use a ceramic blade or a nice piece of knapped flint to kill someone. They also would be undetectable.

    As a pacifist, I'm not sure why I devote so much thought to this topic.

    1. Adam 1 Silver badge

      Re: Ammunition?

      And of course that nail firing pin would look a bit suspicious too

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ammunition?

      Ammunition can be made from stuff other than metal.

      Plastic cased ammunition exists.

      There's no particular reason why the primer needs to be metal.

      The bullet can be made from concrete or ceramic.

      Black powder is notoriously difficult to detect.

      1. Don Jefe
        Boffin

        Re: Ammunition?

        You really know nothing about ammunition do you? Everything you just said creates a casing that cannot withstand the pressures necessary to fire the projectile with serious velocity and/or a bullet that can't make it through the barrel.

        - Plastic casings are worthless for small rounds. The smaller a round is the greater the case pressure (a .22LR generates more case pressure than a .30-06 round). Small plastic cases rupture before enough case pressure can be generated to push the round out if the casing and through the barrel (I.e. the bullet never achieves the speed to exit the firearm).

        - Primers are pressed in place and the metal slightly deforms in the 'cup' in the casing to allow it to 'lock' into place. If primers aren't pressed in properly they blow out before the bullet during case pressurization, meaning no bullet exits the firearm. The primer has to be able to withstand the pressure & heat exiting the spark hole in the casing or it melts - insufficient pressure is generated.

        - Bullets have a slightly larger diameter than the barrel. After firing the barrel actually cuts the rifling pattern into the soft metal jacket (or lead core if you're shooting lead rounds) as pressure trapped between the chamber and bullet forces the bullet through the grooves. If you try to force something down the barrel that can't be cut (concrete, ceramic, glass, etc) it becomes lodged in the barrel and the gun explodes.

        - Black powder is notoriously unreliable & is terribly underpowered compared to the same volume of smokeless powder (cordite and friends and associated blends) which is easily detectable by Boy Scout level detection kits.

        All that being said. Almost anything is possible, but building a firearm that will do its job while firing exotic ammunition is time consuming, expensive, dangerous, and likely to make you look like a fool when you try to use it. If you're dead set on shooting someone and getting away then all financial and engineering evidence dictates you buy a reliable off the shelf firearm and be sneaky.

        1. James O'Shea

          Re: Ammunition?

          Errm... you don't need a casing. You really don't. Large artillery pieces don't have casings; they use bagged charges. (In)famously the American 152 mm gun-launcher fitted to the Sheridan and the A2 version of the Patton tank didn't use casings. <http://www.military-today.com/tanks/m551_sheridan.htm> (If you've read a few of David Drake's short stories, you might be familiar with the phrase "Have you ever seen a Sheridan burn?" Scariest story of his that I've ever read, mostly 'cause I've met guys just like the protagonist.)

          No, if you make the chamber walls thick enough you don't need a casing. I can even see designs were you have a one-shot, throw-away, weapon containing one charge of black powder, some fuse wire, a battery, and a ceramic bullet. Oh. Wait. The US Government actually made weapons like that, back in WWII, and air-dropped them into the Philippines for use against the Japanese. No, they weren't plastic, then, they were wood and aluminium and fibreglass. Came pre-assembled with one .45 ACP round loaded.

          1. Duffy Moon
            Black Helicopters

            Re: Ammunition?

            All this talk of caseless rounds, ceramic rounds, carbon fibre firing pins, electrical ignition and plastic casings does not convince me that making undetectable ammunition is quite as simple as printing a gun. The fact that (given the right materials and skills) it can be done is rather missing the point (much as the bullet probably would do, if the target was more than a few feet away).

            This gun has a firing pin, so was presumably designed with conventional ammunition in mind. When the ammunition can be printed easily too, then this would be a potential security hazard.

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Duffy Moon: Ammunition?

      Caseless ammunition has been around since WW2, you can use ceramic bullets if you are shooting soft targets, and if you wrap it in a plastic casing the explosive content is then air-sealed and undetectable. A firing pin in the design is made of metal as it needs to be very hard, but a competent plastics chemist could produce something out of carbon fibre that would probably be just as hard, work for at least a few shots, and be easily replaceable. You could even remove the need for a firing pin if you switched to a chemical firing system or an electrical one using non-metallic conductors (think nylon static generator that you prime before the action, then discharges into an electrical primer in the round when you pull the trigger). All the technologies for making "undetectable" weapons have been around for decades but so far no terrorist group has tried using them to hijack an aircraft, they've gone for conventional metal weapons and circumvented the security process instead (e.g., by having sympathetic ground crew stash weapons on the aircraft). The shrieking is that 3D printers make it now supposedly more commonly available.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Duffy Moon: Ammunition?

        > by having sympathetic ground crew stash weapons on the aircraft

        I remember that one. Was it Passenger 57 or Executive Decision?

        As far as I am aware, ground crews stashing weapons on board for hijackers has only ever happened in the minds of Hollywood script writers and fiction authors.

  15. greekdish
    Thumb Down

    Pathetic Journalism

    "With its ultra-short barrel, the Liberator looks about as accurate as a Fox News daytime TV presenter, but politicians are already worried."

    Was going to question the Register's journalism here and went to see the author's name....and then I see its some left winger from San Francisco, a city, due to its left wing politics....is bankrupt, has naked fat people walking around and sitting in restaurants, has worse crime as a gun free city than cities that allow guns, high taxes and still run down, dingy and smelly with a lot of homeless.

    Liberals wouldnt know the truth if we tattooed it on their block heads.

    1. frank ly

      Re: Pathetic Journalism

      "Liberals wouldn't ...."

      I thought you said the author is a left winger? You need to learn more about this subject - maybe you're a liberal.

    2. Hey Nonny Nonny Mouse

      Re: Pathetic Journalism

      So you're saying San Francisco would have fewer fat people if the city had more guns?

      Makes sense I suppose, all that exercise running away from gun waving right wing lunatics would soon get them in shape.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Pathetic Journalism

        > So you're saying San Francisco would have fewer fat people...

        In my rather limited experience I'd have said that SF and the Bay Area have rather less fat people than many other areas on the USofA.

        1. Mike Richards

          Re: Pathetic Journalism

          I must admit I've missed all the naked fat people in San Francisco.

    3. Old Handle

      Re: Pathetic Journalism

      Fox is the company that successfully argued that it's A-OK for them to lie to the public. (I even found you a link to the story on a conservative site.) So yeah, I think it's pretty fair to hold them out as an example of inaccuracy when even they admit they're lying to people.

  16. Hempy
    Happy

    Strip searches?

    If a gun is made at home without any metal it could easily be carried onto an airplane. Does that mean see-through clothing, no undergarments? And would that also mean strip searches including body cavity searches? Modesty is almost becoming a thing of the past.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Strip searches?

      "...there's going to be nothing in the design that makes the metal addition crucial, so potentially there could be people walking around with firearms that can get through airport scanners undetected."

      @Hempy: "If a gun is made at home without any metal it could easily be carried onto an airplane."

      No, this is not true. Just about any detection system today uses dimensional detection rather than solely material. I can testify that in the case of federal buildings, the object would be identified as a gun-like object.

      Ultimately, the airports and what not will have to update their "checkers" for the latest possibilities.

      1. ObSolutions, Inc
        Happy

        Re: Strip searches?

        "Just about any detection system today uses dimensional detection rather than solely material."

        But with access to the 3d printer files it wouldn't take much work to make my plastic gun look like a spaceship or dinosaur toy while still being useful for its original purpose...

  17. Zero Flag

    Miffed they named it after the starship in Blake's 7. Pleased they brought it out in appropriate colours.

    1. Rab Sssss
      Coat

      Its probably named after this http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FP-45_Liberator

  18. Eric Olson

    So the solution....

    Must be to regulate the ammunition instead of the delivery vehicle. Anyone with a bit of ingenuity can make a dangerous (to the user) vehicle to deliver a bullet in a specified direction. Heck, they might even hit the broadside of a barn once or twice (without suffering injury). But without ammunition (which can be hand-packed today, I know), these plastic, pipe, prison, etc. guns are useless. So just make the ammunition hard to obtain. If that means people go back to black-powder muskets in an attempt to circumvent the rules, so be it. I'll take my chances staring down an barrel that isn't rifled shooting a lead ball that couldn't be described as spherical.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the solution....

      Muskets are still accurate to 50 metres. Reloading however is a bitch.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: So the solution....

        As is sticking a musket down the back of your pants.

    2. Should b Working
      Thumb Up

      Re: So the solution....

      You can credit Chris Rock on that one ;)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZrFVtmRXrw

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Eric Olsen: So the solution....

      "Must be to regulate the ammunition....." Making ammunition is much less complex than making firearms. Indeed, if you are willing to go back to the days of cap'n'ball, which was perfectly good for the early six-shooters, it is almost trivial compared to the work of making a weapon. Claims that regulating ammunition manufacture is a Trojan Horse for punitive taxes on ammunition, nothing more.

  19. Tony Paulazzo
    Happy

    1. Because it is ridiculously, insanely cheap to buy "real" weaponry.

    Not in the UK it isn't.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      @Tony Paulazzo

      This was about the third world, and why they weren't producing cheap weapons themselves. If you had bothered to read the comment this was a reply to, you might have gotten that bit.

      And also, if you had used the 'reply' button next to the post you're replying to (which you are, evidenced by the quote), your reply would end up where it's pertinent.

    2. Ommerson
      Stop

      They are readily available to rent with the right contacts. One hears from the press of the hire-charge being in the £100-200 range provided the weapon isn't fired. And if the intention is to intimidate rather than actually kill, an imitation is likely adequate.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      *cough* depends on your purpose and who you know.

      Getting an automatic rifle would be fairly impossible, but hunting rifles and shotguns are pretty easy to access. Which will do just fine if your purpose is to do something harm with a long weapon.

      Pistols is again pretty tricky to get hold off, but they never seem like a "real" gun to me. Penis extension, waved round for show, but not plan in a shooting match. I will grant it's nice in CQB, as long as you make sure you've got hold of it.

      Another BS 3D printer article. If I want to build dangerous devices at home, then the hardware store is the place to go. Actual hands on skills are still miles ahead of any ctrl+p no effort home manufacturing. No insult meant to actual CAM and the CAD for CAM people, would be interested to see a reg article on some of the industry uses of this rather than the home user guff.

  20. Andy J

    Not a danger to society, but a danger to the user.

    I suspect the 'chunk of metal' incorporated in the original forms the chamber so that it can withstand the enormous force created when the ammunition is fired. Leave that out and the firer will probably lose both their hand and their eyesight if they are lucky, and possibly a lot more, if they're not. Real guns are made of metal for a reason (no, not so you can chrome plate them).

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Not a danger to society, but a danger to the user.

      From the article: " there's going to be nothing in the design that makes the metal addition crucial, ". Evidently, it's not the chamber.

      The gun is made from ABS, a stupendously tough plastic; they make lifeboats out of it. Also, it's got an extremely short barrel; the bullet will be out of it, allowing the gases to escape, before the chamber has time to deform appreciably (which is what happens before it ruptures). Apparently that's what makes using a plastic chamber feasible.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not a danger to society, but a danger to the user.

        The strength of the ABS is the determining factor in the length of the barrel. But, if the past is anything to go by, the materials and their manufacture will improve which will enable more accurate and endurable weapons to be printed.

      2. J__M__M

        Re: Not a danger to society, but a danger to the user.

        They also make lifeboats out of rubber...

        Stupendously tough? That might be pushing it. The only advantage of ABS over PVC is how it fails, and PVC used for compressed air lines out in the garage can blow your face off. That's at 200psi, not 20k.

        ABS is good with a turd at .5 fps, questionable with a potato at 500(?) fps, and darwin award material with a bullet 1100 fps.

        But I could be wrong.

    2. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Not a danger to society, but a danger to the user.

      The 'chunk of metal' is required by the Undetectable Weapons Act which was a panic response from Congress over Glock pistols which were first mis-reported to be all plastic. They even talked about how they were designed to be hidden in plain sight because 'look they even come in Tupperware, just like in your mothers kitchen'. (At the time I had to call my mom & see if she did in fact have black Tupperware;

  21. Mike Richards

    It's their political agenda we should be worried about

    Wilson also said:

    'The specific purposes for which this corporation is organized are: To defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest.'

    The word global is pretty worrying. Most of us are pretty happy to live in countries where people don't have ready access to firearms. Wilson and his weird friends seem to think that's wrong.

    1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: It's their political agenda we should be worried about

      ...through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms...

      Er - we're talking about AMERICANS here. That's GLOBAL, as in 'from New York to San Francisco'. As in 'The World Series'.

      Why would you think that anywhere outside of the US exists? The Americans clearly don't...

    2. Ken 15

      Re: It's their political agenda we should be worried about

      Just because you like being a victim, doesn't mean you should inflict your narrow minded view on others...

      Let people choose whether nor not they want to be protected or not.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: It's their political agenda we should be worried about

        "Just because you like being a victim, doesn't mean you should inflict your narrow minded view on others...

        Let people choose whether nor not they want to be protected or not."

        Name one other country in the world where guns are lauded as a positive in society, and not considered either a necessary or unnecessary evil. No? Turns out the US is wrong.

    3. MigMig

      Re: It's their political agenda we should be worried about

      Don't be so paranoid. As long as you stay away from the west coast, for example, you'll be out of range from some ABS-gun-toting maniac within China's borders.

  22. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Oh dear

    This wont end well.

  23. Naughtyhorse

    will it have any impact at all...

    merkins currently kill 30k people a year with their god given metal guns, and they clearly dont give that much of a fuck about that number*. Say this plastic piece of crap takes off in a big way and next year there are 32k gun deaths.

    so what?

    *After 35 australians were killed in '96 they banned all semi-automatic rifles and all semi-automatic and pump-action shotguns. In the UK in '86 after 16 deaths at Hungerford we did the same. This is what normal people do in these circumstances. Freedom and liberty are one thing - but crazy people strolling round slaughtering school kids??? It's not that hard to work out what to do about it, or so it would seem. Actually apparently it _is_ hard to work out what to do about it, even with 91% of the population in favour of _some_ kind of control.

    1. PTW
      FAIL

      Re: will it have any impact at all...

      That's funny, because I live in the UK and own both a semi-auto & pump action shotgun!

      BTW neither type of shotgun was used by Ryan in Hungerford, it did however end in Section 5 status for semi-automatic rifles, effectively banning them.

      And don't get me started on Dunblane, why the need for 100 year gagging order on the investigation????

  24. BroncoBilly
    Unhappy

    This was a fairly informing and interesting article, until I got to the part of the authors left wad shot at Fox News. Obviously he has never watched MSNBC, or any other opinion mainstream news. My advise to the author of this article, be a real journalist, write your informing articles and keep your partisan politics out of it, otherwise you are just another partisan loon.

    1. Martin 71 Silver badge

      Like most true journalists, he believes in at least a pretense to accuracy. Therefore faux news made a perfect humorous example of the ridiculousness of the right. Right wingers getting upset at people pointing this out is merely another example of how ridiculous they are

    2. Philipsz
      Facepalm

      Sad

      Judging by the downvotes you received most people here *want* to be fed lies by their favorite propaganda outlet. Then again I am not surprised.

    3. Naughtyhorse

      and that how fox won the battle!

      MSNBC sux a bit (I get all my news from jon stewart - but you prolly dont like him much either) but fox sux so bad it infects the entire sector

    4. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      FAIL

      Shirley you've seen the study...

      ...that shows that Fox News viewers are even less informed than people who watch no TV news AT ALL:

      http://www.businessinsider.com/study-watching-fox-news-makes-you-less-informed-than-watching-no-news-at-all-2012-5

  25. Don Jefe
    Meh

    Usual Crap for Press Attention

    Laws already exist that make it a serious crime to manufacture firearms without a license. In addition the BATF and/or the IRS (who actually issues the tax permit) can withdraw said license for any reason if they feel the manufacturer is taking advantage of the system or manufacturing unsafe firearms. I doubt this guy will retain his license for long.

    Besides, engineering drawings and materials specs are already available freely for all the 'standard' guns (M-16/AR-15 variants, AK-47/SKS & variants, M1 & variants, 1911 & variants, etc..,) It is just illegal to produce them without government permission & a license from the IP holder. Firearms manufacturers have been in the IP licensing game a lot longer than the RIAA/MPAA & they've got better lawyers too. They'll shut you down before the authorities finish their doughnuts.

    As with so many things these days, if existing laws were enforced everything would be much better. However enforcing laws doesn't allow legislators to call press conferences or have bills named after them.

    1. BroncoBilly

      Re: Usual Crap for Press Attention

      So true, in 2011, prosecutions were down by over 40%. If government won't enforce the laws we have, why would anyone think they are going to enforce more laws?

      National Criminal Justice Reference Service (NCJRS), which found in 2010, of 6 million Americans who applied to buy a gun, less than 2 percent -- or 76,000 -- were denied. Of those, the ATF referred 4,732 cases for prosecution. Of them, just 44 were prosecuted, and only 13 were punished for lying or buying a gun illegally.

      http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/25/gun-debate-gun-crime-prosecutions-on-decline-amid-call-for-more-laws/#ixzz2SKbUxGIz

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd like to see an end to the security theater. The only way to do that is to PROVE that NOTHING can stop the determined adversary, and the only way to do THAT is to perform the deed: get guns and bomb through the TSA checkpoints. If it weren't for the massive prison terms for anyone making such a move, I'd be inclined to perform the deed in front of a TV audience to show the world, "You're wasting your time! If they want you dead, you're dead, end of. If I REALLY wanted to create worldwide havoc, I'd hang around an air inlet with airborne Ebola. So can't we all just get on with our lives?"

  27. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Boffin

    A few points

    I wonder if he's got more than the name from this little beauty.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FP-45_Liberator

    Designed in essence to allow the local populace to kill random members of an occupying force.

    But don't forget to have your reloading stick with you!

    And yes I think accurate as a daytime Fox News reporter is pretty fair.

    BTW regarding caseless ammunition, see this.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heckler_and_Koch_G11

    It's perfectly possible to fire a military grade round, but it's a seismic shift for the worlds armed forces and their supply chains.

    Making it using a home 3d printer (or other home workshop tools) without specialist raw materials is very doubtful.

  28. Mephistro Silver badge

    Why stick to traditional designs?

    A weapon with an electrical firing system and swappable barrels holding each several rounds would be far more effective. They could use some good quality standard steel tubing for the (single-use&non-rifled) barrel. This way they wouldn't need a chamber or a receiver, thus greatly simplifying the design. As for the lack of rifling, most shootings in urban areas happen at distances < 20 meters, so, together with the weapon being untraceable, this would make it an ideal tool for gangs and crims. The steel tube wouldn't pass airports metal detectors, of course, but for the rest of applications it'd be a dream (or a nightmare, depending on how you look at it).

    And for those who think that we shouldn't discuss this concept publicly, for fear of giving ideas to the baddies: I'd bet good money that there are thousands of nerds and/or weaponsmiths out there thinking along the same lines, and probably hundreds making their own designs. Security through obscurity wouldn't have a friggin chance here.

  29. Kwac

    This looks great!

    Where can I sign up for a militia so I can get one under my Second Amendment rights?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Settle down boy... Your second amendment rights have nothing to do with any sort of militias. It's about your personal right to own a big arse collection of big arse guns... Or so says the NRA blokes anyway.

  30. Dana W
    Meh

    "Plastic Gun" is the panic cry of the American super liberal. I'm sure they are enjoying a good run of hysteria.

    On the other hand, you couldn't PAY me to fire that thing. There is enough plastic in my Glock, that thing looks like an accident waiting to happen.

  31. Arachnoid

    None cased round

    Nope there was mention of solid but not metal cased ammunition in a recent thread so theres nothing to prevent an upgrade of this sort of ammunition and Im sure even a plastic version could be made should the need be required.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pointless

    What self respecting mass killer would be seen dead with an ugly homemade "printed" gun such as this!?

    Better and way cooler to just go to an arms fair and buy what ever you want:

    It's going to be more accurate with a higher rate of fire, safer for the user and more deadly for the target(s).

    Anyone who thinks there will be any limitation on weapons ownership is the US is a fruit loop.

    Just what any episode of "Sons of Guns" on Discovery. Last episode I watched they were reactivating a tank's main gun. and mounting an fully functioning .50cal machine gun on it. FFS.

  33. SpitefulGOD

    Yeeeaaahhhh!

    Easily smuggled onto a plane, 3D printing outlawed, good work dufus

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ammunition

    is made of metal. You won't be walking through airport metals detectors, undetected unless the weapon is unloaded and in that case, harmless.

    In the UK, where are you going to find the .22 ammo to go with this?, sure you can print the gun but you cannot print the ammo to go with it.

    even .22 short requires a Firearms Certificate to purchase. If you wanted to get hold of some ammo without going through the stupidly laborious legal pathway then you would have to go and ask a man in a pub, in which case you may as well buy a gun from him as well while your there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ammunition

      I'm sure if pressed someone could come up with a nonmetallic bullet and cartridge casing. Meanwhile, black powder would be tough to detect (the ingredients are nonmetallic and can be sealed gas-tight). I hear a ceramic slug makes for a good anti-personnel round (shatters and spalls once it hits). As for the casing...any plastics useable for the job?

    2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Ammunition

      When somebody is waving it in your face how do you know it's unloaded?

      The first rule of guns is a gun is ALWAYS loaded.

  35. Charles-A Rovira
    Devil

    You know that this FREELY printed handgun isn't going down smoothly with the DUES paying member of the NRA don't 'cha?

    Follow the MONEY...

  36. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    FAIL

    I'm a CNC

    engineer and I'm out of a job :(

    Actually thats not true, but then you go round flea bay looking in the bargin bucket CNC mills, you can pick yourself up a fairly good machine for 5k, download a CAM program from pirate bay and off you go making proper metal guns.

    But then I'm a proper engineer, with years of experience in making all sorts of naughty things for the government/arms industry and those plastic things will be 1 shot only toys cunningly designed to take out the gun nut firing the thing.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    sales of 3d printers will explode

    this is the killer app

    fuck you politicians you can defend yourselves with money but you took ours.

  38. JohnG

    Ammunition

    The ammunition is likely to show up on metal detectors.

    In the UK and other European countries, the purchase of ammunition is subject to the same sort of constraints that apply to the purchase of guns. Is this not also the case in the USA?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ammunition

      Depends on the state. But in some cases no.

      Plenty of stories of Brits on vacation/business trip being invited to a day on the range

      and just popping into a gun store on the way to pick up a few boxes of ammo. No questions asked.

    2. Don Jefe

      Re: Ammunition

      Wal-Mart and hardware stores sell ammunition here in the States. The only requirement is the purchaser being 18+ years old (21 in some States) and having ID to prove your age if they ask.

  39. sjsmoto

    In the Line of Fire

    Not a new idea. In the 1993 Clint Eastwood movie "In the Line of Fire" the assassin made a plastic gun, and put the metal bits into a pen.

  40. Petalium

    Why benig the gun on board ?

    Seems stupid to smuggle a weapon on board

    Why not bring a portable 3D printer with you?

    1. Carry the printer openly past security

    2. Print the gun, and a knife perhaps

    3. Have the gun blow up in your face

    4. Get shot by an air marshal

    5.Paradise and virgins galore....(May vary by your mental imbalance)

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No help

    Somehow I don't see any current tyrannical government overthrown by a populace armed with these guns let alone the Soetoro regime. This does nothing to help uphold the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. I feel sorry for my American friends.

  42. Winkypop Silver badge
    Joke

    The Plastic Militia rises!

    Look out everyone, plastic soldiers now have real guns!

  43. Steve Knox
    Thumb Down

    Oversimplified Elitist BS

    "Well, what did you think would happen when everyone has the means of production? ..."

    Economic theory would go out the window. Or did you mean to use the classical definition of "everyone" as only those people who have enough resources to "matter"?

  44. Ken 15
    Thumb Up

    Awesome!

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/thumb_up_32.png

    awesome!

    This might terrify the Brits who have given their souls to the government religion, but this is an awesome development.

    Government has always been the biggest murderer and torturer of it's citizens. Only privately empowered people can hold off a predatory government, and this is just another technology of freedom.

    -Ken

    kenstech

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Awesome!

      "Government has always been the biggest murderer and torturer of it's citizens. Only privately empowered people can hold off a predatory government, and this is just another technology of freedom."

      I'll go with cancer being a bigger murderer and torturer or UK citizens. And heart attacks. And many other things, before you get to the UK government. Grow up.

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Awesome!

      Point one of these at me and see how far you get.

      I'll print up an F16 and nuke you with a printed a-bomb.

  45. Richard 15

    A few points.

    First, the ammunition as such would in all likelihood still be detectable.

    Now with some clever camouflage you get a situation like the man with the golden gun

    who assembled the weapon from pieces that looked innocuous.

    "This" gun is likely to be not all that useful.

    The plastic in today's printers are simply not made to withstand the pressures involved.

    It would not surprise me to see one of these things blow up in someone's hand.

    That said, I can see future versions being made that ARE indeed useful.

    And if the machine is one of the advanced ones that make items out of ceramic, like they

    do engines, then it not unreasonable to think an undetectable gun could be made "on the fly".

    Governments already make guns that are for the most part not detectable, but hey, that's

    "their" right, right?

  46. J__M__M

    Just keep hitting the print button....

    If the reliability of 3D printers is anything close to that of the supposedly mature technology flowing through the circuits of the HP color laser that sits on my desk like a giant ethernet equipped (authentic HP) toner eating pink hue producing albatross, we have absolutely nothing to worry about.

    Failing that, we can only hope all future homicidal nut-jobs are actually insane enough to print their own rampage guns. Peace on earth through 3d printing is more like it.

  47. Chris Miller

    Successful test firing

    BBC article and video here.

  48. MigMig

    I guess that means that certain powers that be (along with their supporters) will be forced to wake up a few extra brain cells in their heads to realize that the days of relying on regulations/bans to sweep problems under rugs is coming to an end.

  49. This post has been deleted by its author

  50. Roger Stenning
    Mushroom

    Jesus H. Christ...

    I stand corrected, the bloody thing DOES work.

    Yes, it's a huge advance for 3D printing, and the uses it can be put to, but for pities sake, why the hell did this common sense-deficient fool have to print a sodding gun?!

    Click for article on Forbes.com.

    Granted, you need the use of what is currently an expensive 3D printer, and ammunition that is more (I damn well hope) conventionally produced, but for a one-shot weapon, that you can then replace the barrel (3D printed) and shoot again, this is quite honestly a bloody bad move. Think about the funds that your average drug dealer has at their disposal in places where firearms controls actually seem to work reasonably well (such our fair shores), and then think of what they could do with those funds (over and above what they already do, that is). Frankly, the possibilities are quite horrifying.

    I still stand by my comments regarding carry-on items being scanned by Airport X-Ray machines, and their subsequent detection, but they are not good for scanning people. So, I guess we can look forward to a reintroduction of those pervert-view machines again, thanks to this bloody maniac.

    In addition, until firmware systems can be put in place to prevent a 3D printer for making a firearm or its parts (a bloody unlikely prospect, given the AI computing that would be needed in such a stand-alone system), it's only a matter of time before 3D printers (which had the possibility of allowing small firms to make out-of-production spare parts for such things as home domestic machinery, bicycles, cars, and so on) are added to the list of export control restricted items (can you say "End User Certificate"), thus putting the kybosh on the world-wide uses that 3D printers were originally intended for.

    Mr Cody Wilson has a hell of a lot to answer for, now. He's quite probably buggered up a huge advance in small-scale engineering manufacturing.

    Nuke, because that's the where my temper is thanks to Mr. Wilson.

    Edited for grammar and emphasis

  51. hEdly

    who writes this crap. ahhh, from the san francisco office. Hence the disdain for Fox News. Couldn't keep the article apolitical. How about how accurate the CNN reporters were during the Boston Marathon bombing. Or how most media outlets in the US give the president a pass on another golf trip while the budget is in turmoil.

    1. asdf Silver badge
      FAIL

      hmm

      Don't confuse a lack of journalist quality out of all the corporate news (notice how things went downhill quick after W Bush and his cronies changed the FCC rules on media ownership, of course Obama and his cronies love the status quo and changed nothing) with validating Fox News in particular. El Reg is better than most but all one has to do is look at a LP climate change article to see bias is here as well. All in all just another race to the bottom (TMZ here we come).

  52. asdf Silver badge
    Meh

    wow

    Not worth more than glancing at the comments but this one may go over 300. On one side you have the mad dog 2nd amendment right nutters willing to yell until you close their cold dead lips and on the other Brits just looking to smuggly laugh at all the merkins. Most merkins are somewhere in the middle but you won't hear from those.

  53. sisk Silver badge
    Coat

    Cue hysteria

    These things will be good for a half dozen shots, max, and even if they survive the first shot you won't get a second off. Extreme short range to, with a barrel that size and probably not rifled. If you can get close enough to accurately aim this thing you can probably get close enough to spit in your target's eye.

    All in all, I think a shiv carved from a toothbrush would be more dangerous. With it you don't disarm yourself for bystanders to take you down after your first victim.

    Not only that, but criminals have been making guns in prison by hand for a very long time now. I've seen some of them with my own eyes (courtesy of a friend of mine who, in the course of guard duty, confiscated them --and if you're wondering he got the warden's permission to show me the confiscation pile before they were destroyed because he thought I might find them interesting, which I did). They're much scarier than this thing in my opinion, and they probably took less time to make.

    All it takes to make a gun is a tube and a nail on a sufficiently strong spring or rubber band. My dad used to tell me about the time he made a 1 shot .22 out of a ball point pen. He was 12 at the time (and not a criminal....it was one of those 'neat idea at the time' sorts of stupidity that kids sometimes do).

    But OMG IT'S GUN! IT MUST BE EVIL! Bah, I expect better from this crowd than that type of mindless melodramatic hysteria.

  54. Havin_it

    Commentards know much about making guns

    With such expertise, why do they not make peace?

  55. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Stop

    I think concern about this is going to go the way concern about concealed carry did....

    Remember all those opinion pieces saying that concealed carry would lead to citizens settling traffic disputes and routine arguments with gunfire? Yes, I do.

    Has it worked out that way, despite concealed carry permits running into the millions having been issued? No it hasn't. Yes, there will be some crooks who use these guns, but they probably could have got their hands on other weapons anyway.

  56. JDX Gold badge

    Weed out the problem

    How many morons are going to lose their hands when their print has a defect and explodes?

  57. Crisp Silver badge

    3D Printer not necessary

    You can build a zip gun in your garage without the need for a 3D printer or plans downloaded off the internet.

    All the 3D printer does is make it slightly easier.

  58. MrAlvin
    Boffin

    Ethics of the people

    As always, any society is always only as good, healthy, sound, caring, powerful, sharing, evil, rich or poor as the sum of the _individual ethics_ of its people!

    You can not force a person to _be_ selfish. You can not force a person to _be_ unselfish.

    You might be able to force, persuade or train, a person to _act_ selfish or _act _ unselfish.

    But in the end, any person will _be_ and _act_ exactly as the sum of their personal ethics and convictions dictate them to be and act!

    Which is why I have joined a technology group that live by these simple principles:

    "Rule0: Don't act in a way that requires us to create a new rule."

    "Guideline0: Membership is free, but to use X you must contribute to X. "

    When you think about it:

    - No matter your personal political views or personal life style preferences, anyone has the ability to chose to adhere to Rule0 and Guideline0, it is only a matter of individual choice.

    - Rule0 has references to: the many dynamics between the individual and the group, and how [ the sum of personal responsible behavior ensures the maximization of individual freedoms, as it minimizes the groups need to intervene with "rules for your own protection].

    And this argument is not even based on ethics, morals or religion, it is simple logic and mathematics.

    - Guideline0 has a universal reference to relations and dynamics between the individual, the group and any resource.

    Since the second world war, it has unfortunately become a wide spread notion, that freedom means that anyone can do and as they please with their "private property". Where as, before the second world war, most leaders and decision makers knew and understood, that any "property" the owned or administered, was handed down from generation to generation, and they would be remembered for how well they managed the resources under their protection, "ownership" and stewardship.

    So one may actually be able to evaluate, judge and classify any person, company or government by how well they understand and/or implement Rule0 and Guideline0 in their principles, actions, laws or stewardship of any resource.

  59. Matthew 3

    Mixed up with toys

    At the moment a plastic kids' toy gun is obviously not the real thing. With these out there it might become a bit harder to be certain what's what. I predict that someday a young kid will be shot for playing with a toy gun, just in case it isn't.

  60. peter collard

    UK airports picked up plastic guns 14 years ago

    My 8 year old son tried to "smuggle" his toy gun thru Liverpool airport 14 years ago - it got picked up despite having no metal parts. Liverpool was probably state of the art then due to the Irish troubles.

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