The issue was not the existence of the gun itself, but the fact that if the Liberator (and other 3D printed gun files) were “weapons of war” that would possibly violate ITAR.
That adjudication resulted in the government (and ITAR specifically) being sued by Cody Wilson. The government settled out of court and openly admitted their wrongdoing as part of the settlement.
I will repeat; the 3D printing and manufacture of firearms was never illegal in the US, only the international distribution of the files themselves. Even the distribution of the files within US borders and possession of the files themselves are all and were all legal.
I have no issues with people owning guns legally but I don’t think I’m ok with them being able to print a gun.
Would you be willing to explain why?
See, my reasons only make sense to me and the environment I grew up in but I don’t see a reason for an individual to be able to make a gun whenever they want. I know most probably won’t do anything illegal with the gun but I also think the gun might not be safe to use…I have never used a 3D gun or know much about them so they could be perfectly safe to use.
Generally, polymer is a less than stellar material to make a gun out of; that’s why the Liberator is basically a single-shot low-power gun. It’s a proof of concept to show it Can Be Done and thereby challenge the idea of controlling ownership of firearms as a whole.
Since it has been adjudicated that code (and files) are themselves a form of speech; sharing that “speech” in an open forum is, by default, legal and protected.
The issue is, people (for a variety of reasons) already DO make untracable firearms, from 80% lowers, from raw stock, from scrap metal, etc. They’re rarely if ever used in criminal activities, mostly because criminals can just buy an illegal (but legitimately manufactured) firearm either which were illegally purchased themselves, stolen, or gotten thanks to programs like ATFs Fast and Furious and other gunwalking schemes.
as for fears about criminals building untraceable guns, they can almost certainly do it better for cheaper with scrap metal & metal working shop tools. 3d printers arent cheap & polymer guns dont last, as @kasaron has already noted. assuming that they dont just buy black market factory made guns, which are much better quality for much less effort.
& some people have this ridiculously idea that a polymer gun is totally undetectable by security scanners & can be taken ANYWHERE. yeah, they arent, & they still require metal bullets.
Anyone who’s worried about 3d printed guns has NEVER actually had or used a 3d printer. I’ve got 5 of them, ranging from $300 chinese DIY kits to $4500 “prosumer” fully assembled devices, and not a single one can make a gun that I’d be willing to fire with any form of reliability or safety. The tolerances and durability just aren’t there.
The best I could make would be that Liberator up there and the chances that it might just explode in my hand on the first shot aren’t low.
The people who’ve made the fully functional AR lowers aren’t doing it using a 3D printer you can just buy off the shelf, they’d using industrial grade SLA resin printers that START in the 5 figures and if you want the metal additive printers you’re not walking away without spending 6 figures. At that price point they can just buy metal working equipment and make real metal guns by the dozen in the time it would take to print a single gun.
Now: I can’t speak for the future, 3d printers might change, but the direction they’re moving in now does not lend to making guns in the least bit; and stifling the entire branch of technology out of idiotic fear of a possibility is the last thing we need to do.
Also: THERE’S ALREADY OVER 300 MILLION GUNS IN THE US AND IT WOULD BE WAY EASIER AND CHEAPER TO JUST BUY/STEAL ONE OF THOSE THAN PRINT ONE.
This is what I’m saying. The school I work at has a 3-D printer and by no means would it be capable of making a gun you would want to use. Not only would trying to prevent the program from being downloaded be an enormous waste of time, most criminals wouldn’t even be bothered with it when there are much easier ways to get a gun.