Cybersecurity & Tech

The World's First 3D-Printed Gun

Alan Z. Rozenshtein
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 10:00 AM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

From The American Interest's Via Meadia blog comes this installment of the Department of Terrifying Advances in Science: the first 3D-printed gun. The all-plastic gun still needs a standard-issue metal nail for the pin, so it's technically not entirely printed, but the nail is the only required non-printed part. For those unfamiliar with the technology, 3D printing is a method of literally printing layers of material (usually some sort of plastic) together so as to create a 3D object. These printers are increasingly consumer friendly and allow anyone with an internet connection to download blueprints and start their own desktop manufacturing plant --- or in this case, gun factory. The organization behind the 3D-printed gun is called Defense Distributed. It's the brainchild of Cody R. Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas. Defense Distributed describes its mission as follows: "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." Below is a video from Defense Distributed describing the project. (A longer documentary about the project is available here.) Via Meadia calls it "somewhat ominous yet ultimately bracing." I guess one blogger's bracing is another blogger's creepy.

Alan Z. Rozenshtein is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School, a senior editor at Lawfare, and a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Previously, he served as an Attorney Advisor with the Office of Law and Policy in the National Security Division of the U.S. Department of Justice and a Special Assistant United States Attorney in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Maryland.

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