back to article 3D printed gun plans pulled after US State Department objects

Files that enable the 3D printing of the Liberator pistol designed by Defense Distributed have been pulled from the group's website at the request of the US government, which has now shut the stable door days after the horse had bolted. #DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it …

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  1. Don Jefe
    Meh

    Good

    This is a good thing. It made a mockery of the firearms manufacturers licensing clauses and implied social rules. It also made a mockery of the engineering that goes into a real firearm and its ammunition. I fully expect (and hope) the BATF and the IRS are already knocking on his door and pulling his license.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Unhappy

      Re: Good god!

      You're an asshole. You hope someones house gets raided along with their finances because they shared and attached their name to the project, because they didn't take a criminal approach and attempt to sell them, use them, or develop them for criminal activity? Again, asshole!

      Is it a good thing they are developing even MORE laws for criminals to break? I suppose at some point I will have to fill out a government form when I want to pick up a pack of DVD-R and a 3D printer, of course there will be an extra tax on that printer.

      1. Don Jefe
        Alert

        Re: Good god!

        Asshole I may be. Opinions vary.

        I am however quite serious that this guy was playing games with serious stuff and deserves getting smacked around. Guns are not toys or 'projects' and this guy was taking advantage of legalities which is expressly prohibited in the regulations he agreed to adhere to when he signed up for his license. His home and business addresses associated with the license are already subject to random searches as well as his finances as a condition of getting his license (it's that way for everyone with a firearms manufacturing or FFL3 license) so I'm not wishing anything on him he didn't agree to or even ask for by being a clown.

        If he wants a project let him design and manufacture a real firearm or maybe get into something more suited to toying around with and leave the serious stuff to those of us who take it seriously & play by the rules.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Coat

          Re: Good god!

          Don, opinions may vary, but there is always a majority. The majority, if it is the majority, that stands for having a persons life turned inside out for this particular issue, are assholes. Don, escape it how you like with your own words, but you're and asshole.

          1. Aaron Em
            Facepalm

            Re: Good god!

            It seems to me that all Don Jefe wants to see are consequences whose possibility whatsisname who runs Defense Distributed agreed to accept as a condition of being issued a firearms dealer's license. But hey, sure, he's an asshole, why not? As we all know, the fundamental principle underlying the entire Western concept of law is that if someone on the Internet likes something a whole lot, it's legal.

          2. NogginTheNog
            FAIL

            Re: there is always a majority

            If there were then surely we wouldn't have so many coalitions?

        2. g e
          Holmes

          Re: Good god!

          I hope to fuck he doesn't put up a file for a 3d printed knife or pointed stick.

        3. ZanzibarRastapopulous

          Re: Good god!

          > Asshole I may be. Opinions vary.

          I think we need a poll.

      2. Valeyard
        Mushroom

        Re: Good god!

        Language please!

        what's with the personal attacks?

    2. JCitizen
      Thumb Down

      Uuh! The State Department...

      The same place that abandoned Bengazi? I got no respect for them anymore!

    3. aaronj2906_01
      FAIL

      Re: Good

      And pointless, much like your magnet of a post. Wow... dumb.

      OK... Look. The take down is pointless. Ever heard of a torrent? Or (insert generic P2P tool here)... The cat's out of the bag, and there's nothing the FED can do about it, which is as it should be. Period.

      If someone wants to build a pseudo-gun out of lego and lite brite parts, let them.

  2. Hoe
    Megaphone

    You are right about them worrying about the current problems first, though that won't happen in any real sense either yet I fear, but this can't help put a shiver down your spine, this is the first model, how long before a 3D printed plastic AK, if they can do the Liberator they can do an AK, sure it might cost a bomb now but in time the printers and plastic will be cheap as chips as per the way of these things.

    Stopping it will be impossible of course.

    1. Esskay

      Assuming your plastic AK doesn't shatter immediately, you'll end up with a pile of molten plastic after a few rounds. Cost is irrelevant, the design of the AK takes the material into account - there's a reason guns aren't usually made out of plastic.

      Ultimately, for $1000 of plastic you're better off making a simple object that won't go wrong - a slingshot or knife would be better for a 1 use object, I would imagine.

      In terms of concealability, a sharpened toothbrush would be more effective, not to mention cheaper and have a similar range to the liberator.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        as good and bad as it may be the reality is that a single shot from a gun not found on xray but build in flight is all that is needed to repeat 9-11 type war starters. and to say the cost is too high you think a few grand is going to stop someone on a mission.....

        1. Franklin
          FAIL

          Repeat 9/11 type war starters? Are you daft?

          Say someone takes this onto a plane. Then what? Before 9/11, passengers would generally cooperate with a hijacker. Nowadays, that's no longer true. What do you think would happen if someone started waving this single-shot gun around on a plane now? Do you think the passengers would just sit there? If he fired it, do you think the passengers would let him reload? They'd kill him.

          In a post-9/11 world, taking this onto a plane would be hazardous to the would-be hijacker's health.

          1. Wombling_Free
            Boffin

            Sure, you could take this onto a plane.

            I'd like to see you try to take the AMMUNITION for it onto a plane though.

            1. Tom 13

              Re: Sure, you could take this onto a plane.

              Testing teams still routinely get ammunition, guns, and even bombs onto planes via non-approved means. The government just doesn't advertise the failure rate.

              Franklin has the correct counterpoint: passengers will no longer allow airplanes to be hijacked, even if 5 or 10 of them have to die to stop it. This (and not the TSA granny strip searches) is what is stopping that line of attack.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @Franklin

            I am with you on this, I expect in a modern world, unless the terrorists are well armed, there is little chance of them taking and keeping control of the aircraft.

            If you know what your doing, there are quite a few every day implements that your likely to have on your person on a plane that could be turned into one time use lethal weapons to disable a hijacker with... For obvious reasons I am not going to say what or how...

      2. Ru

        Ultimately, for $1000 of plastic you're better off making a simple object that won't go wrong

        The $1000 figure largely relates to the way commercial 3D printer manufacturers pad their profit margins. See also: price of inkjet cartridges. Laser sintered nylon powder or extruded ABS is likely to be a fair bit cheaper.

        In terms of concealability, a sharpened toothbrush would be more effective, not to mention cheaper and have a similar range to the liberator.

        Firstly, remember that this is effectively a tech demo. Things will only get nastier. Secondly, remember that there are a few things that even a little rimfire bullet can do better than a small blade, such as penetrating light obstacles such as window glass or thin doors. It can also be used out of arms reach, or behind a bystander, or from another vehicle. Thirdly, just because this model is one shot, it doesn't mean that it isn't trivial to make a multiple-barrelled one like a pepperbox pistol or some kinds of derringer.

      3. Tom 13

        Re: there's a reason guns aren't usually made out of plastic.

        Yeah, we passed a law against it.

        It wasn't the 3D printers that prompted that law. It was lawfully constituted gun manufacturers. Plastics in the gun make them lighter, easier to handle, and surprisingly more accurate. And when they found you could get them past metal detectors the spam hit the fan so to speak. Yes there were claims that you could set the scanners so it would find the casings for the bullets and everything would still be good. But it still resulted in a law to prohibit manufacturing plastic guns.

        Frankly, I think it stifled innovation that I would like to have seen. I actually like guns, and the idea of an all plastic gun has an appeal to me. I'm not surprised that the hoplophobe in the listed city were quick out the gates with new legislation since what they really want is to ban all privately owned firearms. I might after some thinking even concur that we should take the risks associated with plastic guns and focus on the real problems with murders, which is not the guns. But that doesn't mean that I don't recognize certain risks associated with plastic guns and that society thought they'd already closed that barn door.

  3. BornToWin

    Maybe the Feds should not object

    With any luck these plastic toys will explode and take out the perps using them. Then there won't be any need to find and prosecute the scum.

    1. JCitizen
      Devil

      Re: Maybe the Feds should not object

      Uuh! Didn't you see the YouTube video - it did explode - not fantastically, but yes - it did explode! Both the single shot model and the AR 15 model.

  4. Neoc
    Devil

    The difference?

    You want to know why the politicians are getting hot and bothered about this? Up until now, they were sitting behind metal detectors and could p*ss off any number of people and feel safe knowing no-one could get a gun past the detectors and that someone-else was opening their mail.

    All of a sudden, here comes a gun that needs to have metal *added* to make it "legal" (so that a detector will find it). Now all of these politicians realise that while the production of the gun *is* expensive, there is now a way for a nutjob to smuggle a gun close enough to shoot said politicians.

    It has nothing to do with the public and the huge loopholes though which "normal" nutjobs can buy "normal" guns. It's now about politicians realising they can get shot.

    Wonder how many pro-gun US politicians will suddenly find reasons to ban this puppy?

    Bootnote: I don't condone the shooting of anyone - I just enjoy the irony of this situation.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: The difference?

      The Undectable Weapons Act is several decades old and had nothing to do with this. The 'Liberator' was designed and built by a licensed firearms manufacturer and as such must comply with Federal regulations. Besides a bullet sets off a metal detector all by itself, even without a firearm.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: The difference?

        Besides a bullet sets off a metal detector all by itself, even without a firearm.

        Does it? I thought more metal than a single bullet was required?

        Regardless, they could be hidden in a big ass belt buckle, inside a laptop with aluminum shell, etc. that you send through the X-ray while you walk through the metal detector just fine. You simply need to surround the bullets with enough other metal that they don't look like bullets to a the half awake low paid guy watching the X ray machine's monitor.

        This is probably more a concern for people bringing weapons into schools, courthouses or federal buildings to kill someone up close than it is for someone bringing it on a plane. As someone already pointed out, the guys in congress may be up in arms about this as much because they realize the cranks who send them death threats would have a better chance to actually carry them out if they can bring a one shot gun into the Capitol building for a "meeting" with their congressman. The range and aim on these one shot guns may be terrible, but if you're close enough to shake hands...

        Airplanes are just not a real concern as far as another 9/11 is concerned like some people seem to believe. In today's world a hijacker successfully bringing a gun onto a plane, even a normal pistol with 15 shot clip wouldn't allow him to do another 9/11. At best he could kill a few people. Depending on how reinforced the cockpit doors are, maybe he could get "lucky" and kill the pilot and copilot by shooting through the door, and kill everyone on board, but he'd have no control over where the plane goes down. But that's with a real gun, with this one shot plastic toy he'd be lucky to kill one person before he was stomped into unrecognizable pulp by the dozen nearest men and mothers traveling with children.

        1. Kevin 6

          @DougS Re: The difference?

          The range and aim on these one shot guns may be terrible, but if you're close enough to shake hands...

          a plastic knife*, ice pick, sharpened pencil, and a pile of other way more easily concealed things would be way more effective IMO.

          This like most of the 3d printer things was just proof of concept.

          *there are many 3d printer files of those deadly weapons from what I seen on sites the government might want to start going after those.

    2. Charles Manning

      The politicians love this

      It is a great way to divert discussion from the hard stuff.

      Pro-gun lobby are prepared to have these banned. Throw them under the bus to keep everyone off the backs of legitimate owners of real guns.

      Anti-gun lobby: An easy win.

      I doubt very much any politician is worried about being shot by one of these. If anyone is going to take a shot at me, I'd prefer them to use one of these rather than a $100 handgun they buy from a street gang.

      This thing is probably more dangerous to the person behind the gun than a person in front.

      1. Tim Jenkins

        Re: The politicians love this

        " I'd prefer them to use one of these rather than a $100 handgun they buy from a street gang."

        Or a legally-held Bushmaster taken from home at no cost.

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

        The whole 'printable-gun' outrage is pure diversion from the simple truth that all the mass shootings in the US (and historically in the UK too), have been carried out using conventional commercial weapons, usually legally acquired by either the perpetrator or a relative (see the list at http://www.nycrimecommission.org/initiative1-shootings.php)

        We can reasonably assume that not many of the other 14,000+ firearms-related homicides in the US in an average year were committed using a downloaded weapon, either...

    3. aaronj2906_01
      Joke

      Re: The difference?

      "now a way for a nutjob to smuggle a gun close enough to shoot said politicians"

      You say that like its a bad thing? ;o)

  5. AisForApple
    Thumb Down

    Hmmm. As an experienced firearm user and owner, I can tell you that there are plenty of back yarders making weapons far more sensible, accurate and reliable at massively lower cost right now. This is a total storm in a tea cup, I'd not even be confident using this device in my hand let alone using it in a crime or for self protection.

    Firearms are a great equaliser for people defending themselves and their families, criminals already have weapons, why should your wife/daughter/son or grandparents not use a 100 year old tool to allow them to fend off or defend their property, livelyhood and life against scumbags? I'm not an American, I do believe not every person on earth should be allowed to carry or own a firearm -- but in my mind, I want my loved ones to have the ability to stand on even footing with the criminal that might threaten them.

    On a less serious note, if you've never tried using a firearm, go to your local club/range and have a go, some serious fun to be had, and massive amounts of nerdy fun to be had with reloading and target shooting in particular when you get super serious.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      "Firearms are a great equaliser for people defending themselves and their families, criminals already have weapons, why should your wife/daughter/son or grandparents not use a 100 year old tool to allow them to fend off or defend their property, livelyhood and life against scumbags? I'm not an American, I do believe not every person on earth should be allowed to carry or own a firearm -- but in my mind, I want my loved ones to have the ability to stand on even footing with the criminal that might threaten them."

      Read this:

      http://www.examiner.com/article/possessing-a-gun-makes-you-less-safe-not-more-safe

      Still convinced that owning a gun makes you more safe?

      1. Donn Bly

        re: possessing-a-gun-makes-you-less-safe-not-more-safe

        The biggest problem with that article is that, in the vernacular popular in the UK, "pure and utter bollocks".

        Unfortunately, on multiple occasions I have had to use a firearm to defend myself or those with whom I live. I will never forget how scared I was the first time - but even though I was injured I was able to defend my roommate and prevent a murder while I waited for police to arrive. There are many problems with the statistics that they chose to use, but one of the problems is that no statistics are kept on how often a firearm in the hands of a law abiding citizen are used to diffuse or deescalate a situation. You have to realize that most of the time no weapon is even fired. The mere display of a weapon is often enough to stop an aggressor in their tracks and turn tail and run, and in those cases the counts are not considered when tabulating gun violence.

        Is someone more likely to be shot in a home that has a firearm? Perhaps, just as someone who rides in a car is more likely to die in an auto accident than someone who doesn't. It just isn't an accurate measure of safety.

        Now, as to the plans being forced offline... it is unfortunate that our senators and congressmen are so out of touch with the "common man" and reality that they don't know that someone can walk into a home improvement store or well-stocked hardware store and for less money than the cost of plastic to print the "liberator" they can walk out with everything that they need to build a reloadable single-shot firearm, including the necessary explosive charges, propellant, and suitable projectiles - and that such a weapon would be smaller and easier to conceal than the "liberator". Instead, some of them actually believe that if you take a bullet and wrap it in a metal case that it will be able to pass through a metal detector undetected (I'm not kidding -- I wasn't sure to laugh or cry when New York Senator Schumer gave a radio interview about it today)

      2. The Axe
        Mushroom

        @DavCrav

        To be honest DavCrav, the article you link to is bollocks. So full of twisted stats to push an agenda that is could be twisting itself down the plughole.

        "Owning a gun increases your risk of falling victim to a gun accident, a suicide or a homicide. ....... Eighty-five Americans are shot and killed on an average day. Sixty-two percent of those who are killed are the victims of self-inflicted wounds from committing suicide."

        It first tries to make out that you are more likely to die if you own a gun. Then it lets slip that most who die do so from killing themselves. So remove the gun and are the suicides going to drop. Nope, they'll use a car a bridge or something else which would require you to say that these objects need banning too.

        Then it gives three case studies. Adam Lanza being a fantastic case to use to say that the average gun owner is likely to die from a gun shot because their family member is a nut case. Keith Ratliff being a fantastic case to use when the element of surprise is a major factor in not getting to your gun first. Meleanie Hain being a fantastic case to use to highlight the build up of fear caused by the excessive publicity to gun crime to make it out that a criminal is around every single corner. All crap and spurious studies.

        I'm afraid your article just makes a better case for gun ownership as the reasons for not owning one are stupid, puerile, and silly.

        1. SonofRojBlake
          Thumb Down

          Re: @DavCrav

          "remove the gun and are the suicides going to drop"

          Yes.

          When catalytic converters were fitted to cars, making it harder to kill yourself with the "tube from exhaust through window" method, suicide rates overall dropped. Note: not "suicide by gas" - suicide. Removing ONE method of suicide caused the number overall to reduce.

          In the fifties, nearly half of suicides were completed by breathing coal gas (containing carbon monoxide) from an oven. In the sixties, coal gas was phased out and replaced with near-monoxide-free natural gas. The suicide rate nationally fell by about a third, and stayed down.

          It's a reliable and repeatable observation that if you remove a common and easily-accessed method of suicide, people do NOT find alternative methods - suicide rates fall.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @DavCrav

            While heading a little off topic I notice a conversation of guns and suicide. Surely suicide is a personal choice? If we are to truely in control of our own lives then surely the right to suicide is one of our rights.

            Gun statistics are very fuzzy at best. Suicide is not being killed, it is killing yourself. Accidents could be counted but then they are surely to be compared with car accidents etc. Not intentional killings.

            Then you have to split up those who are killed/wounded by the gun into defensive/offensive situations. The gun as a defensive tool is doing as intended. As an offensive tool it needs adding to the statistics of any offensive situation because without a gun another object could easily replace it as a weapon.

            Even then it gets fuzzy. While counting how many overall violent crimes and how many defensive killings with a gun you then have to take into account the unreported non-crime. Situations where the crime would have happened with various possible outcomes except the victim was armed or even pretended to be armed and so the situation was defused.

            Gun control is a difficult topic which then gets further muddied by the emotional reactions of nutters. Some pro gun and some anti gun. But both incredibly nuts.

            1. SonofRojBlake
              Thumb Down

              Re: @DavCrav

              "If we are to truely in control of our own lives then surely the right to suicide is one of our rights"

              Indeed. But, as I pointed out, if you remove and easy method of doing it ON IMPULSE, lots and lots of people who would have taken that route decide, on a moment's reflection, not to do it AT ALL. You have a right to jump off a bridge... but it's a fact that if you make it even *slightly* difficult to get over the rail, the rate of jumpers er... falls. Drastically. If we can protect people from killing themselves on impulse - and we CAN - then surely we should. That does not in any way limit your right to jump off something tall if you really want to.

              "without a gun another object could easily replace it as a weapon"

              Really? You'd be happy bringing a knife to a gunfight?

              Nothing easily replaces a gun. Guns are portable, fairly cheap, easy to use, reliable and safe (for the user - you can't cut yourself with it, but do see above re: killing yourself). With a loaded handgun a person with absolutely no training at all can have a reasonable chance at seriously injuring or killing a target from ten yards away. No other object can do that.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @SonofRojBlake

                "Indeed. But, as I pointed out, if you remove and easy method of doing it ON IMPULSE, lots and lots of people who would have taken that route decide, on a moment's reflection, not to do it AT ALL. "

                So its right to take away someones right to their own life because they are too stupid to be responsible for their own life? Interesting view. If you take away the easy method you leave the hard. Hard can easily increase suffering and be less desirable way out. Again removing the persons right to their own life. I am not using this purely as a gun preservation argument, I just believe people should have the right to suicide in general.

                "If we can protect people from killing themselves on impulse - and we CAN - then surely we should. That does not in any way limit your right to jump off something tall if you really want to."

                Jumping off a bridge can interfere with the lives of others and can easily fail. Also it requires a lack of fear of heights and to overcome the self preservation instinct against falling from a great height. And then there is the torture of the fall which takes its time. And then hoping that you actually die on impact. Not a good way to go.

                "Really? You'd be happy bringing a knife to a gunfight?"

                Better than nothing. But personally I would prefer a gun to a gunfight. But then for it to be a gun fight my attacker has a gun. So I wouldnt want to be stuck with just a knife. So you are right that being allowed to have guns for personal defence is a good idea. Especially as the vast majority of people can use one with less restriction of age, frailty, injury, strength, etc than other weapons. Even the elderly would have a chance!

                "Nothing easily replaces a gun. Guns are portable, fairly cheap, easy to use, reliable and safe (for the user - you can't cut yourself with it, but do see above re: killing yourself). With a loaded handgun a person with absolutely no training at all can have a reasonable chance at seriously injuring or killing a target from ten yards away. No other object can do that."

                Then you obviously dont use petrol. In fact the homemade bottle of flammable liquid required so little clue that it was easy for untrained soldiers in various wars to use them. Effective against troops and even armoured vehicles. And that is keeping with the projectile weapon. A non projectile and so less portable version could easily do more damage. Easy to obtain, unlikely to be challenged while moving it, reliable, safe and very cheap. It does have the disadvantage of area damage and ruling out the more vulnerable people to using it making it an offensive weapon instead of defensive.

          2. chris lively

            Re: @DavCrav

            Looking at a single change in a complex system does not mean there is a causal relationship between them.

            There were a lot more things going on in the 50s and 60s than just coal vs natural gas. Nevermind that we are still on coal gas in a lot of places. The threat of nuclear war alone probably put a good number of people over the edge until we were almost numbed by its constantness in the late 70s.

            Point is: there are a lot of things that go into whether some one is more or less likely to knock themselves off. From external uncontrollable reasons ( threats of war ) to deeply personal ones. The question you should ask yourself is how far should we go to ensure an individuals safety, even when that individual is purposely trying to harm themselves. In other words, how much should society give up to make it safer for one person?

            I'm firmly in the camp of personal responsibility. We know the world is dangerous and every single day each of us engages in some activity which has risk of death. For example, you could be killed by a car, even if you were walking to work. Should we ban cars? No because the risk of personal injury, although far greater than the risk of being shot, is outweighed by the usefulness of the vehicle. What about banning walking? Same reason.

            I think guns also fall into that category. Their usefulness far outweighs the danger. A gun does many things. It is a deterrent when brandished openly, it also provides a sense of security to the bearer. As has been pointed out, target practice can be a fun hobby, or you can hunt with them. And, in several cases, it is a checkpoint on quickly expanded governmental control. Yes, a 9mm is nothing compared to a tank; however when there are 200 million or more of these out there it will be quite a problem to seize everything at once.

            Now regarding his particular weapon: I thought ceramic guns had been around for awhile now. Aren't they also invisible to scanning?

            1. Esskay

              Re: @Chris Lively

              Cars and walking have a purpose other than killing. To compare walking to gun ownership because "some people get hurt walking" misses the issue entirely. If anything, the comparison demonstrates how tenuous the similarities between guns and cars/walking really are. (not to mention that in the example you gave, walking is a passive action - it's akin to banning people from going into office buildings because of 9/11).

              Even if, as some people claim, a car is a "weapon", as it can be used to murder, it requires premeditation to get in the car, start it up, put it in gear, release handbrake, drive out of driveway, into street, then navigate to wherever I want to kill someone. It's not a case of pulling a trigger, and the intended purpose of a car is not to kill - so even if I *wanted* to, I still quite possibly couldn't kill anyone with it. What's more, despite the number of cars in the world (billions) the number of intentional killings using them is miniscule.

              Lastly, a car doesn't always kill. I've had car accidents where both cars were written off, and no-one was injured. In fact the number of accidents involving no injuries is much higher than the accidents that do result in injuries - I've not heard of someone taking a bullet in the head and not sustaining any injuries, but will happily stand corrected.

              Using a gun for suicide requires no thought - pick up gun, pull trigger. Like it or not, people make decisions that they regret later, and suicides that require more time/thought result in less chance of people going through with it. It's why they have councillors at popular bridge jumping spots - not to "fix" the issues people have, but to at least give them time to think. If you make someone go to a lot of effort to kill themselves, they're at least going to have to give the issue more thought - a gun removes that second chance.

              "how much should society give up to make it safer for one person?"

              ^Exactly. You've hit the nail on the head with this question. Why should we be happy with people blowing their own brains out, either intentionally or unintentionally, simply so that a few paranoid types can "feel a sense of security"? If safety is measured as the likelihood of being killed or injured by a weapon, then guns need to be controlled. Why should society be happy for shootings to be commonplace when it's only being done to placate the few who are so insecure so as to need a placebo for their issues? With effective gun control, society gives up nothing. With the way things are, many people are at risk of injury so that one person can have the illusion of safety.

              The "uses" of a gun are limited to killing - that's their sole purpose. They can be used to intimidate, but only because they're designed to kill. They give a sense of security, but only because they're designed to kill. Recreation is the only other use, and using a gun for recreation doesn't require it to be loaded/kept at home.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @DavCrav

        Not everyone is an idiot with guns... that article seemed to point out accidents, homicides within the home...

        But in the case of accidents, that is stupidity so darwin is winning.. Keep the gun locked in a gun safe, or somewhere out of reach of kids and you'll be fine, keep it unloaded but with the clip nearby, and you'll be fine..

        the key thing is keep it out of the hands of the untrained!

        In the case of Homicides, knives kill just as easily, as does poison etc....

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: @DavCrav

          "But in the case of accidents, that is stupidity so darwin is winning.. Keep the gun locked in a gun safe"

          Then how can you use it to defend yourself?

          It's an obvious dilemma: if you need your gun at short notice to "defend yourself" then it cannot be securely locked away. And if it's securely locked away and unloaded, do you have a spare five minutes to go, get the key, unlock the safe, get the bullets, load the gun, then turn round and say "right intruder, ready now".

          The only logical conclusion is that guns kept securely are useless, and guns kept insecurely are dangerous.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @DavCrav

            "It's an obvious dilemma: if you need your gun at short notice to "defend yourself" then it cannot be securely locked away. And if it's securely locked away and unloaded, do you have a spare five minutes to go, get the key, unlock the safe, get the bullets, load the gun, then turn round and say "right intruder, ready now"."

            A locked and accessible safe is useful against intruders while in public it should be kept on your person at all times. There have been plenty instances of the intruder being heard in the other room or struggling with an occupier of the house while the spouse has time to go for the gun.

            There are many such stories even of older people scaring off the young attacker because they are armed. But then there is the fear factor. Listen when they say 'they dont break into my home I have a gun. They go next door instead.'. Opportunistic crime comes from a lack of perceived consequences. If they might get shot it probably aint worth it.

            "The only logical conclusion is that guns kept securely are useless, and guns kept insecurely are dangerous."

            That is just a fear of the uninformed. Dont listen to them.

            1. DavCrav Silver badge

              Re: @DavCrav

              "That is just a fear of the uninformed. Dont listen to them."

              Luckily I live in the UK, where almost nobody has a gun, so I don't need to worry about getting my head blown off by one of you people who are all obviously experts with these guns you carry round and would never miss your intended target and hit somebody else.

              1. No, I will not fix your computer
                Thumb Up

                Re: @DavCrav

                There's about 2 million registered firearms in the UK, one weapon for 30 people, that's not "almost nobody", but as guns have to be locked up, can't be in public, have very tight licencing rules including interviews with your local firearms officer for a new licence or renewal, all transfers are recorded etc. you don't seem them around much (wander the countryside on a Sunday and you'll hear the pop pop of shotguns).

                As opposed to the US where the ratio is close to 1:1 (9 weapons per 10 people), but gun availablity doesn't affect gun crime... face say hello to palm.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                @DavCrav 13:24

                "Luckily I live in the UK, where almost nobody has a gun, so I don't need to worry about getting my head blown off by one of you people who are all obviously experts with these guns you carry round and would never miss your intended target and hit somebody else."

                I live in the UK too. I visit a few gun clubs and there are a lot of us in all walks of life in many professions. Most of us dont tell people because of their small minded stupidity to assume we are dangerous nutters. I on the other hand think education is the way forward so while I dont brag about it but I dont lie when someone asks what I am doing on a shooting night.

                I know you dont want to think of yourself as one of those small minded and it is the way you have been brought up. You assume that because some of us enjoy a sport that your gonna get your head blown off. And the worst part is if you have many friends at all you probably know someone who has been shooting. Maybe even someone who goes regularly and probably owns a few.

                I honestly recommend you go to one of these ranges to see these experts in action. All guns facing down range, if people want to go down range all guns are unloaded and open for inspection, range rules which keep the environment safe and enjoyable.

      4. Tom 13

        Re: Read this:

        Don't have to. It's based on a discredited studies even though hoplophobes refuse to admit it. Truth is: more guns less crime. In fact reliable estimates are that guns are used to stop about 2.5 million crimes a year, (not including police).

    2. Esskay
      Facepalm

      I love that people assume a "criminal" has a big label over them identifying them as such, as though they're born "criminals". Whay happens when your wife/daughter/son gets shot dead by someone else's wife/daughter/son because they thought they saw a criminal? or felt threatened? or panicked? or because your wife/daughter/son *is* a "criminal" (care to define the term?) because, like it or not, every "criminal" is *someone's* wife/husband/daughter/son/father/mother.

      If everyone should be allowed to carry guns, then yes, the criminals have them. But no-one can identify their intentions, nor take them away from the criminals. It has a wolf-in-sheeps-clothing effect. Trying to identify and shoot a "criminal" when everyone is waving their guns about in a panic is not something I'd want on my conscience.

      If no-one is allowed, then the simple act of carrying one *makes someone* a criminal - and thus they're liable to be charged without ever having used it, the moment someone sees them with it. Will they be able to perpetrate a crime with it? Possibly. But the risk of them shooting someone dead is lowered, since they know they're not going to have to shoot first "just in case". Most cases where guns are used as a threat aren't intended to result in death - they're robberies, break and enters, etc. The goal isn't shooting someone dead, so anything to reduce the risk of someone pulling a trigger will be beneficial for everyone's wife/daughter/son - and if that safety comes at the price of a few posessions, then so be it.

    3. Tom 13

      @AisForApple: Mostly true.

      But you should remember that when the first firearms were introduced the orientals laughed because their swordsmen could easily stop the bullets and could kill far more people more quickly than the English could with their new found technology. So with more engineering it will present a more serious threat than what was put out in this demo. What's important is thinking rationally about that threat. Which those who are panicked about this video and the plans are unlikely to do.

  6. VAZ

    I guess the main reason for panic by the US govt is the fact that this gun is more able to be secreted onto an aircraft. One bullet at 30,000 feet can do a whole lotta damage.

    1. Esskay

      The gun? yes. A small, plastic contraption.

      The bullets? no.

      At 30,000ft a fart would be more deadly.

    2. Ru

      One bullet at 30,000 feet can do a whole lotta damage

      Substantially less than you might expect. Planes don't pop like balloons when punctured, aircraft controls aren't made of Hollywood-grade explosive materials, people don't get sucked through pinholes like Goldfinger, there's more than one guy who can fly the plane and probably a handful of people who'd be prepated to sacrifice themselves to prevent another 9-11 style incident.

      Apologies for wikipedia references, but they'll suffice for the impatient:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qantas_Flight_30

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloha_Airlines_Flight_243

  7. Marksman

    Gun Banning is Ridiculous

    When will these politicians stop trying to pretend they care about the public safety. If they really cared, they would print one of these guns themselves and shoot themselves. We would be better off.

    Just look at the statistics on the number of unarmed people shot by government officials. So long as government retains the monopoly on violence against others, we will never be safe.

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: Gun Banning is Ridiculous

      The only true words in your comment are the last five; all the rest are idiocy of the purest ray serene.

  8. Charles Manning

    How long before....

    Someone figures out how to make a gun from plastic without a $8000 printer. You know, something just made with $20 of DIY hand tools?

    Well they have... zip guns have been around for decades. Want plans? Uncle Google will find heaps. Most of these have steel barrels, but with some experimentation, a $50 drill press a plastic barrel is easy enough to make and that would be way more reliable than this 3D thing.

  9. nanchatte
    FAIL

    How much?

    $8000 for a printer, sure, I can see that, but $1000 of plastic to make that little thing? It must weight, what? 200g at the most...

    HP must be salivating at the opportunity to produce even more wildly overpriced "ink"

  10. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Export regulations for this thing?

    And yet I can find weapons of mass destruction (AKA pressure cookers) at the supermarket

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: Export regulations for this thing?

      The thing is he's a licensed firearms manufacturer & the law prohibits them from exporting firearms, certain critical components or manufacturing knowledge without clearance. Even though the gun is a stupid (and dangerous) toy it is a firearm and falls under the laws for grown ups, which he is obviously too immature to follow.

      1. JCitizen
        Boffin

        Re: Export regulations for this thing?

        Uuh! The law in the US say you have to physically transfer the weapon - transferring plans, material to make, or machines to make weapons has NEVER been illegal. They don't have one single legal leg to stand on. The man only capitulated because the BATF bullied him by threatening to pull his license obviously. We will see what happens in court when the NRA comes to town!

        1. matt g
          FAIL

          Re: Export regulations for this thing?

          I think you misread the last post. The export of weapons and things like plans to manufacture them is not intrinsically illegal, and the previous post didn't day it was. You do however need a licence as per the US's requirements under international trade agreements, in this case the Wassenaar Arrangment on military items and dual use goods.

          The guy who put the plans up on the Internet meant the US was not in compliance with its international commitments. But they (probably) couldn't act until after it happened as designing and even sharing within the US would not fall under the same controls.

        2. cs94njw
          Megaphone

          Bah - The NRA will save the day

          What is everyone worrying about? The NRA has vast amounts of money and pull with the government. They'll demand their rights as specified by the founding fathers, to bear arms (even if a bit plasticy).

          Surely the NRA is interested in people defending themselves, and not the self preservation of the non-printed weapons industry?

          (icon looks a bit like a gun)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Bah - The NRA will save the day

            Not sure they will - they may be split over this. The right to bear arms etc vs the gun manufacturers (who no doubt have a big influence in the NRA). I'm sure the gun manufacturers don't want people to be able to knock-up their own guns - bad for trade don't you know.

            Not sure how this one will turn out, but hopefully the suggested DRM for 3D printing won't be looked at as a solution (not that copyright it is specifically relevant in this instance, but It will come).

  11. William Boyle
    FAIL

    Idiots!

    The horses have left the barn. These plans are now in the public domain (100K+ downloads before shut down). Does the fracking state department (I won't give them the respect of capital letters) think they can put them back? What id10ts...

    1. Kevin 6
      Unhappy

      Re: Idiots!

      Does the fracking state department (I won't give them the respect of capital letters) think they can put them back? What id10ts...

      From what I've listened to from people that work in the government, and their grasp on how technology works I'm sad to say they probably do think taking them off the site means they won't get distributed again.

  12. The Grump
    Facepalm

    Oh please...

    if the bad guys (terrorists) are smart, they will get their suicide Jihadists to have bombs surgically implanted before a flight, walk through the soft-scatter x-ray machine without a beep, then use a cell phone to activate the bomb after takeoff. An "old fashioned" magnetic field scanner would tattletale on an implanted bomb, but not the new soft scatter x-ray machines. A fact I am keenly aware of, as I scan my fellow passengers for long beards.

    Cars are more dangerous than this $9,000 dollar one-shot gun. Hell, even kitchen knives are more dangerous - and cheaper. Will our fearless leaders ban these, too ? Stay tuned and see...

    1. MrXavia

      Re: Oh please...

      Shhhhhh, dont tell them!

      But seriously I thought you had to walk through a metal detector as well as a backscatter machine?

      Not that I would ever walk through a backscatter x-ray machine, ionising radiation anyone?? yes I know they SAY its safe, but its not safe, just low risk... I would choose enhanced pat down over an x-ray.

      MM wave scanners like they have in the UK now are fine though, non-ionising radiation.

      1. Nigel 11
        Alert

        Re: Oh please...

        Not that I would ever walk through a backscatter x-ray machine, ionising radiation anyone??

        With that attitude you shouldn't ever get on a plane! You need to compare the ionizing radiation dose you get from the detector at the airport, with the ionizing radiation dose that you get from cosmic rays at 40,000ft for several hours. Which is about 10x greater. And of course the greater danger is that the plane crashes, due to pilot error, mechanical failure, or even a terrorist. (Getting to the airport in a private car is even more dangerous).

        I'm convinced that the radiation is close enough to harmless, because aircrew don't suffer an obviously greater rate of cancer than other people, despite spending much of their working lives at altitude. You can also find out about the native fisherman in India, who live and work on a beach made of natural thorium-bearing sand that would be deemed a serious low-level radiation hazard were you to bring a bag of the same sand back to the UK. They're far healthier than the books say they should be. The evidence is fairly persuasive that you can't extrapolate the measurable dangers of moderate doses of radiation down to the lower levels found in nature that living beings must have evolved to deal with.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    pretty nuts from over here.

    Down in the antipodes we got rid of most of our guns... Now the criminals kill each other with those few that are left over and we don't have mass killings anymore. Also... The government hasn't yet broken down my door and killed me so... The hysterics of our gun toting amurican bretheren, Well it is all a bit silly really from where I am sitting. You know, safe in my own home.

    1. Aaron Em

      Re: pretty nuts from over here.

      You barely had any mass killings before, and here in the US, where we haven't enacted any remotely similar legislation, the frequency and severity of gun crime have fallen drastically in the last two decades anyway, except in places like Chicago where a blanket ban exists on the provision of carry permits. I won't argue that mass shootings are anything other than horrible, but making laws on that basis is akin to outlawing stars because they sometimes go supernova.

      Perhaps you're simply still closer down there, to our shared origins as prison colonies, than we are up here. I must confess some slight disappointment in my fellow descendants of transportees; in any case, I know where I'd rather be.

      1. Kevin 6

        Re: pretty nuts from over here.

        Aaron, and that ban in chicago has worked SOOOOOOO WELL crimes committed with illegally owned guns aren't even reported in the news anymore unless a kid(usually has to be multiple) gets shot or something, and even then its usually just a few seconds where a viewer submitted picture of a puppy would get more screen time.

    2. JCitizen
      Holmes

      Re: pretty nuts from over here.

      You calling the BBC a bunch of liars? Maybe you don't live in the UK?

      http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/1440764.stm

    3. AisForApple

      Re: pretty nuts from over here.

      Nice story, but we recently overtook our pre-port arthur gun numbers, and dispite the Sydney newspapers crying about gun crime, the numbers have never been lower in the last 50 years. I am happy that you feel safe, now that you know there are more guns in Australia than before Port Arthur do you magically feel less safe?

      Its not the left over firearms that are the major problem, its the new ones leaking in from every port/post office and diety knows where else.

  14. mIRCat
    Coat

    "The political classes might want to think about fixing the problem with old-fashioned guns before going after the futuristic ones. ®"

    But then they couldn't say ridiculous things like "I plan to introduce legislation that will ensure public safety and stop the manufacturing of guns..." in an effort to garner votes for their next election.

    Passing laws to stop someone from misusing such innovations is futile as anyone who plans to use it for nefarious reasons won't be too concerned with breaking the law.

    What's in your pocket?

  15. MrXavia
    FAIL

    are they serious?

    "I plan to introduce legislation that will ensure public safety and stop the manufacturing of guns that are invisible to metal detectors and that can be easily made without a background check."

    they think 3d printing is easy now?

    I think it would be faster to build a gun from scratch in plastic, and I bet many people either have the tools in their garage or access to them at their local college etc...

  16. Spotfist
    Stop

    (untitledytledee)

    WTF!? The US government bans a plastic gun that is probably less of a danger than piece of sawn timber with a nail in it. Yet you can pop down to the shops and buy a REAL gun if you can wait a few days?!?!?!

    Sometimes I feel really sorry for Americans because it must be bloody embarrassing to have people like this running your country!

    1. aaronj2906_01
      Holmes

      Re: (untitledytledee)

      We generally don't figure out these elected officials are idiots until AFTER they are placed in office. They sell themselves well, then they flop or fall prey to lobbying. Or we get stuck voting in the lesser of a number of evils.

      Quick tangent: I wish we, in the U.S., and a trial clause in electing someone to public office. Give them a 90-day trial. If they're not moving noticeably in the direction they advertised and were elected for, then boot them out of office.

    2. matt g

      Re: (untitledytledee)

      No, the US governement has not banned this gun. Or its plans. They just can't be shared internationally. It's about ITAR, not banning guns.

  17. NomNomNom

    guns are not really the problem. Just wait until someone puts up plans to build a 3D printer. Then there'll be a problem.

    1. Wupspups

      Too late they already have put the plans for a 3d printer. Check out RepRap and MakerBot

  18. trashbat
    Thumb Down

    Plastic gun, paper battleship

    You might be able to torrent your own My First Handgun, but the US has the fearsome power of ITAR, and I don't suppose you can shoot your way out of unilateral extradition to some Sep prison with your one-shot Duplo pistol.

  19. Nigel 11

    Crossbow!

    If I ever wanted a one-shot lethal weapon I'd make a crossbow (or investigate the springonne which is more compact). They were making crossbows in mediaeval and roman times. You don't need advanced technology, though using modern plastics, you don't need metal either. You don't need anything controlled or explosive or traceable. You don't need anything you can't shape from raw material with hand tools.

    A longbow is also a formidable weapon, given enough practice. Martial-arts experts can hit a three inch target at a distance of many yards, firing (wrong word) from a galloping horse, and it offers a quiverfull of shots.

    1. Don Jefe
      Happy

      Re: Crossbow!

      You can make a fabulous crossbow with a leaf from the leaf spring of a car, some steel cable from Home Depot and a piece of black metal pipe (also from the DIY home store) & the catch from a fence gate latch and some angle aluminum for a guide rail. You need some mechanical help to cock it but it will fire gutter nails with the heads sawn off completely through both doors of a car or round hay bale. It is loads of fun.

      For less dangerous fun you can also make a small crossbow using the metal hanging strips from legal size hanging file folders and laminating them together with light epoxy.

  20. Valeyard
    Coat

    I'm lost

    I seem to be viewing an American version of the register where manly men stroke their guns to protect their families and suchlike

    Where's the blighty version of the register where the manliest thing we do to protect our family is proudly install a stairgate without wrecking the bannister? I liked that version of the register more.

    There's just too much testosterone and vitriol in this one

  21. JaitcH

    According to MotherJones.com ...

    a further 71 children under 12 have died from guns since the classroom massacre since last December.

    'Accidents' killed 40 and a further 31 were plain murder.

    Strange priorities, Congress. Sick country.

    (see: < http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/05/gun-deaths-children-newtown-caroline-sparks-crickett-firearms >)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: According to MotherJones.com ...

      Do we have any numbers of stabbings, beatings and other causes of death for children since last december. Obviously this should be compared against other countries too, not as how they died but by number. All accidents grouped together and all murders grouped. Otherwise you are just blaming the gun which is heavily bias and means little in the real world.

      Also you would want to compare on a state by state vs country basis as each state has its own laws and some of the most gun restrictive states have some of the worst violent crime levels (dont want to skew statistics unfairly).

      It is easy to demonise something unfairly. I urge you to change gun to car and put in the correct numbers. Or for hammers, knives, etc.

  22. Robin Bradshaw

    Next week

    I assume that next week there will be uproar when the world discovers that for only a few hundred pounds you could buy the necessary tooling to make a gun out of real metal that fires more than one shot from machinemart/screwfix/axminster etc etc

    Dont they teach metalwork in schools any more?

    1. Ru
      Trollface

      Re: Next week

      Dont they teach metalwork in schools any more?

      Nah, too dangerous.

  23. steward
    Pirate

    This may be an interesting case of first US impression

    "New York, Washington DC and California are all planning laws to ban the gun's manufacture."

    Is a 3D printer really a "printer", or a mini-factory? If it is a printer, banning any use of the printer to 3D print anything could be construed as a violation of the US First Amendment relating to freedom of the press.

    This could be fun...

  24. grandours
    Flame

    Not being an American...

    I don't believe everyone has the right to own a handgun. In my country, owning a handgun is not easy. These downloadable plans make it (relatively) easy for anyone at my daughter's school to acquire one. Easy access to guns for kids is just downright stupid, and will inevitably lead to tragedy and heartbreak for many families down the road. If Amercans all want to give their kids guns, that's their prerogative, but keep them the hell away from our kids. Everyone owning a gun is not a part of our culture. Americans most certainly do not have the right to distribute firearms to our kids. And please spare me the semantic arguments about how this is not the same as distributing actual guns.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Getting back on the topic for a moment...

    The state department, FBI, and BATFE are three separate groups of the US government.Personally, I imagine that the BATFE has already revoked his FFL (which is actually a right pain in the butt to get on the manufacturing side), and he's probably already on the FBI's watch list and the DHS's "no-fly" list for this stunt.

    Regarding the expense of 3D printing- yes, the filiment is expensive- for the price of the filament alone, I can go and get what's commonly known as a 'saturday night special'- cheap, probably reliable, and definitely capable of firing more then the printed version. (I managed to pick up a Hi-Point in .45 ACP for about $300 USD before the last election nonsense drove the price of firearms and ammo through the roof- it's mostly plastic, and an ugly thing- but it works, and seems to work rather well.)

    Regarding 'free' plans on the internet? HA! There's been blueprints for the AR-15 out there for quite some time- I could make an AR-15 lower out of wood in my shop. (the barrel and upper, on the other hand? Definitely NOT.Maybe the handguards...)

    Anon for many reasons, but mostly because I'd rather not have the jackbooted thugs of the BATFE knocking on my door.

  26. k9gardner

    I'm not sure why people aren't getting this.

    Such hostile invective. The folks who can't understand why the government would take action now, and that they're stupid for pulling the plug after the plans have been released, and that they shouldn't even be getting all up about it, since it only fires a single round at a time... you all really need to look up Moore's Law. While this is not technically a mere technology evolution issue, it involves materials sciences and technology and chemistry, and all of these areas have seen phenomenal growth over the last several decades. Look at the phenomenal polymers like Kevlar and Nomex. These things didn't exist before the 60's. Put together with Moore's, the rate of change is itself increasing, and so it is not unreasonable to expect that in another decade or so there will be "plastics" that will be as strong and heat-resistant as metals are today. There will be plastic guns capable of firing multiple shots, with reasonable accuracy, perhaps with now conceivably lethal plastic bullets as well.

    3D printing has only just in the last few years come into the consciousness of all but a handful of people who knew about them longer. And here we are, already, with a 3D printed gun. With zero experience, no metalworking skills, no knowledge of how guns even work, anyone who has a capable enough 3D printer, will be able to generate one of these devices, snap it together, and fire a bullet. Kids doing them as science projects, bringing them to school, undetected. Persons of ill intent doing the same, bringing them onto planes or into offices or banks or sports stadiums and using them for whatever reason they may imagine is worth it.

    Doesn't this set off alarms in everyone's heads? As far as what the right answer is, who the hell knows? But to just let it go, and say, well, the cat's out of the bag, nothing we can do, really is not at all reasonable. They had to shut it down in whatever ways they had at their disposal, to buy time to at least form an opinion. I think it's a very complicated issue, and I'm glad for the extra time to work this out, thank you.

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