US Government Has Authorized 3D-Printed Gun Blueprints
AUSTIN, TX – July 19, 2018
After a four-year battle with the US government, Defense Distributed can publish blueprints for guns, the US Justice Department has determined.
Defense Distributed, developing drawings for weapons produced on 3D printers, won a lawsuit against the US State Department. Soon Americans will be able to legally download schematics for guns and machine guns, the components of which can be printed on printers with layer-by-layer creation of physical objects by digital three-dimensional models.
In 2013, the founder of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson, published drawings of a single-shot gun that allowed printing weapon components on a 3D printer. Four days later, the US State Department found the files published by Wilson to be a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulation. The files were removed, but the drawings had already been downloaded more than 100.000 times. After the files were taken out of public access, some people uploaded them onto the world's largest torrent file directory, Pirate Bay.
In 2015, Defense Distributed decided to challenge the decision of the US State Department, because it considered it a violation of several constitutional rights (weapons possession, freedom of speech, freedom of information). The trial lasted three years and finally the US Justice Department has stated that Americans might “access, discuss, use and reproduce” the technical information.
The government has additionally agreed to retroactively pay $10,000 (£7,600) in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed. It may also pay the organisation’s criminal charges.
The CAD (computer-aided design) files will go back online on 1 August, stated Defense Distributed on its website, which additionally stated: “The age of the downloadable gun formally begins.” Cody Wilson's organization is allowed to publish 3D-printed gun blueprints with cartridges less than 12,7×99 mm (caliber .50 BMG). However, automatic weapons and guns that use caseless ammunition are still banned. On its website Defense Distributed will publish its flagship developments in CAD format. Also available on its website is a milling device — known as Ghost Gunner - that can turn parts easily purchased online into a fully working gun.
It’s necessary to remind people that, according to the 2015 report of ARES (the American consulting company), the production of weapons on 3D printers costs much more than its acquisition on the black market.
Nevertheless, Critics argue that the verdict will lead to an increase in so-called ghost weapons — unregistered guns created without government knowledge or license.
Since then the beginning of the trial guns have rapidly grown in sophistication as materials have become cheaper and better and software more advanced.
But arms supporters have been enthusiastic about this court's decision.
“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” stated Second Amendment Foundation founder Alan M Gottlieb.
“For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.”