Last Friday, we brought you news of the Liberator, the world’s first firearm created using nearly entirely 3D-printed parts. This weekend brought the update that the one-shot Liberator — a pistol made entirely of ABS plastic with the exception of a nail you can find at any hardware store as the firing pin — has been successfully test fired by its lead designer, Cody Wilson. And courtesy of Forbes‘ Andy Greenberg, here’s the video to prove it.
Even if it’s not quite ready for primetime — an earlier test model of the Liberator exploded on firing — this marks in a very real way the arrival of firearms that can be printed in someone’s garage, by people who have to answer to no one about how many of those guns they make, or where those firearms go.
That’s not the sort of operation the folks behind Defense Distributed, the designers of this open sourced WikiWeapon, is running. They’re a licensed firearms manufacturer and have worked to bring the Liberator in line with federal law by inserting a piece of steel in the gun to render it vulnerable to metal detectors. There’s no guarantee, of course, that everyone who downloads the plans for the Liberator from the Internet will be as responsible or assiduous in obeying laws regulating firearms.
The simple fact is, it’s a matter of time until someone gets hurt by one of these. It’s a gun. It’s what they’re for. That person may be a burglar breaking into someone’s home or it may be the unlucky ex-wife of someone with access to a 3D printer and the Internet, or it may be a judge in a courtroom. But it’s going to be someone. That’s how this goes.
The other inescapable fact is that there’s no putting the genie back in the bottle on this one. The tech is here. It’s not going away. And let’s be clear — the tech itself isn’t a bad thing. No technology is inherently a bad thing on its own. Just like the Internet or plastic water bottles, that this technology exists doesn’t say anything about us. How we use the technology, though, will.
- The group behind this firearm has had some stumbling blocks
- I suppose it’s too much to ask that we just try and heal sick people with this tech…
- These 3D printed guns are just nail art