If you had access to a 3D printer and could create only one thing out of plastic, from scratch, what would you make?  An implantable human ear replacement?  A filter for pumping clean water in thirsty third-world nations?  What about forming something fun and whimsical like, say, an acoustic guitar?  Or, would you take the tunnel of least resistance, and the road of the lowest common human morality, and choose to print a plastic gun for killing people?

Unfortunately, you can likely guess the pathway University of Texas law student Cody Wilson picked:

For the first time, this weekend, a plastic gun created by a 3-D printer successfully fired a real bullet. That success, starring on its own promotional video, has stirred up many questions and concerns about its potential impact.

The world’s first fully functioning 3-D printable handgun is the brainchild of Cody Wilson, a University of Texas law student. Dubbed the “Liberator,” it’s fashioned from 15 plastic parts created on an $8,000 dollar three-dimensional printer. The technology is already commonly used in various industries.

“The Liberator” is so un-aptly named it’s comical — unless, of course, we are purely literal and take the name as meaning “being liberated from living.”

When historic human invention is used to kill people, we all need to take a step back from the 3D printer and ask what we’re doing here.  Do we only live in fear of others?  Is there any other way to perhaps use a technology to lift up humankind instead of always burying us beneath gravestones?

Is there anything more debased than creating a gun out of plastic that cannot be detected by current safety standards and metal scanners? There is only one reason to build an invisible murder machine: To live in historic infamy as the ostracized father of an undetectable weaponization in the sinking dusk of the Computer Age. What a horrible legacy to leave behind. What an accomplishment that defines nothing but dust. What a sore mind it takes to create such a quiet kill.

31 Comments

  1. I have read that the gun does have one metal part that is required by the US Undetecable Firearms Act. Naturally, just because one person made a gun while complying with the law doesn’t mean people in the future will take any measure to do the same. Apparently the person who made this gun is a law student and is all about proving a point about what the Constitution will and will not allow —

    http://news.discovery.com/tech/gear-and-gadgets/3d-printed-gun-fires-first-shot-130508.htm

    1. The gun is easily disassembled so the “metal part” can be hidden as something else if you were going through airport security.

      I think there are better ways to prove a point of law than making a plastic proof-of-concept gun.

  2. Firstly it is Texas – did you expect anything else ????

    My choice would be the water pump and filters to provide clean water around the world and stop corporations like Nestle from saying that clean water is not a human right.

    1. Yes, when I saw it was a Texas law student, I thought, “Of course! Who else would care to press that devil’s end?”

      There was a story on the news today that the same 3D printer the guy used to make his gun has also been used in the past to create artificial limbs for children. Maybe we need background checks for people who want to use 3D printers! SMILE!

      I can’t believe Nestle would say that! Now they’ve tainted their legacy, too!

        1. Yes, I think the 3D printer people are freaking out over this horrible publicity they didn’t seek or want and are in overdrive to try to point out the merits of their technology.

          Thanks for the video link! The Nestle PR folk went a bit whacky in the comments for the article you link, pressing people to click this “clarification” —

          http://www.water-challenge.com/post/2012/10/04/Water-is-a-human-right-%E2%80%93-but-not-a-free-good.aspx

  3. Cody Wilson is leaning against the wind of the Socialists and noe-Communists masquerading as the Democratic Party who want to gut the 2nd Amendment.

    David, you should do more research before you write. The gun is named “The Liberator” as a tribute to the inexpensive, simple, single-use gun model –also named “The Liberator” — which the Allies air-dropped by the thousands over France during World War II, to help arm the disarmed French civilians against the Nazi occupation.

    Homeland Security is quietly buying up over a billion rounds of ammunition — for domestic use. Homeland Security’s ammunition purchases are so massive, it is now difficult in many places for law-abiding gun-owning Americans to buy ammunition for the guns they legally already own. Supposedly, Homeland Security’s massive ammunition purchases are just for “training.” That flies in the face of the fact that Homeland Security will soon have enough ammunition to kill every American 6 times over, or wage a domestic war on U.S. soil for years. Who is the enemy? What is the threat? When the money-printing, borrowing binging, deficit spending party crashes to a close — which it inevitably will — and the ensuing fiscal tsunami makes landfall, things are going to get very ugly in the streets, and the government will not be able to protect you. It will make anything you saw in France, Greece or Portugal look tame. During the Great Depression, hungry people passed by store windows and market stalls with food and goods they wanted or needed but could not afford, because they had respect for the Rule of Law, and were God fearing. Do you honestly think that is going to happen in the coming Obama-geddon?? You can choose to be some cowering, impotent, helpless Manhattanite/Brooklynite/Queen like David Boles, or you can choose to have guns and ammunition and know how and when to use them.

    Rock on, Cody Wilson!

    Viva the 2nd Amendment!

    1. Mike —

      We don’t publish hate attacks against people in the comments stream, but since you’re name-calling on me, I’ll allow it this one time because you are such a perfect example of Fox News brainwashing and paranoia.

      Yes, everyone who knows history knows what the “new” Liberator is historically mocking. The crassness of the similar naming is lost on most of us. The original Liberator had a noble purpose. The plastic one does not.

      You should really research what you write before you comment. You wholly misunderstand the “ammunition purchases.” Start thinking and researching on your own. Don’t let Fox News do your thinking for you.

      Here’s the truth from the NRA itself:

      “Federal Law Enforcement Agencies Buy Ammunition”

      You may recently have seen some in the Internet rumor mill feverishly repeating the obvious truth above, in an effort to stir up fear about recent acquisitions of ammunition by the Department of Homeland Security and a number of smaller agencies. The mildest writers have questioned why seemingly mundane agencies would need ammunition at all; more incendiary authors suggest that these government agencies are preparing for a war with the American people.

      Much of the concern stems from a lack of understanding of the law enforcement functions carried about by officers in small federal agencies. These agents have the power to make arrests and execute warrants, just like their better-known counterparts at agencies like the FBI. …

      Perhaps most strangely, some have cited the purchase of hollow-point ammunition as evidence of the federal government’s evil motives. Hollow-points are the defensive ammunition of choice for federal, state and local law enforcement officers across the country, just as they are for private citizens. These attacks are eerily similar to statements made by gun prohibitionists, who spent the much of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s complaining about “dum dum” bullets. (In fact, the Violence Policy Center’s website still exhibits a publication lamenting that federal ammunition law “has no effect on today’s generation of high-tech hollow-point ammunition.”) The attacks also ignore the fact that federal agents, unlike average taxpayers on more limited budgets, normally train and qualify with their duty ammunition.

      As most gun owners will agree, skepticism of government is healthy. But today, there are more than enough actual threats to the Second Amendment to keep gun owners busy. With two key Supreme Court decisions hanging by a one-vote margin, the Justice Department deeply involved in a cover-up of a disastrous Mexican gun smuggling operation, and President Obama touting a ban on popular semi-automatic firearms, there is no need to invent additional threats to our rights.

      http://www.nraila.org/news-issues/articles/2012/federal-law-enforcement-agencies-buy-ammunition.aspx

  4. Nicola, water is NOT a human right. From the beginning of time, most humans had to work hard for the PRIVILEGE of having water to drink, and cook and wash with. They labored and toiled carrying water all day, they labored and toiled to create vessels to carry or store water, they labored and toiled to dig wells, ditches, canals, trenches, anything to get access to water or move water to where they could use it.

    In short, water has always been a PRIVILEGE that people had to labor and sacrifice to enjoy, not a “right” handed to them on a silver platter.

    You are part of the sickening entitlement culture that is rotting our civilization from within and from underneath.

    At the end of the day, there will be nobody to actually do the hard work and carry the water, only a bunch a well educated whining pampered self indulged self loving narcissistic Socialists/Communists like you and David, expecting all their needs to be delivered to them on a silver platter as a matter of entitlement, as part of their “human rights.”

    1. Mike —

      We don’t allow commenters to insult other commenters on this blog. I approved your second comment — even though you’re calling me and Nicola names –because I can handle it, and so can she, but if you have any interest in being heard, and not shouting, you’ll have to abide by our publication rules.

      I appreciate your point-of-view but your tone is misplaced.

    2. The United Nations and I beg to differ

      UN Resolution 64/292, 28 July 2010 states:

      “The General Assembly

      1. Recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights;

      2. Calls upon States and international organizations to provide financial resources, capacity-building and technology transfer, through international assistance and cooperation, in particular to developing countries, in order to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for all.”

      Please do not make assumptions about myself, my lifestyle, my education or my politics.

  5. I’m not surprised by this– and not because of the Texas stereotype! I think all inventions, no matter how noble the intention, can be used for both “good” and bad,” just because there are so many people in the world with such different mindsets.

    What I find the most worrisome is the ease of access that this might allow during a time when we’re really trying to stress the importance of background checks. This guy did it to prove a point, but I wonder if this will inspire a whole slew of things being printed that should not be printed.

    1. I’m not sure why he actually needed to build a plastic gun to prove his point. Must we blow up the world to prove the concept that we can destroy every living thing? Nobody would argue that a theoretical plastic gun could be built with a 3D printer and that it would be inherently dangerous and unnecessary.

      1. True– in the article you linked, Steve Israel (and I’m sure many others) saw it coming and knew the dangers before any of it actually happened in reality. Wilson did comply with adding metal parts so it could be detected, but he still circumvented the background check I really, really think gun owners should get.

        Wilson may well just be an ambitious student doing this to challenge the Constitution, like he says, but not everyone else will be. If literally anyone is able to do this, someone out there will have bad intentions behind that curiosity.

        1. I don’t think you have to have evil intentions to create something evil. I have no doubt Wilson knew precisely what he was doing when he constructed this monstrosity and he welcomed the fury his invisible death machine would create in the world. That’s not innovation. That’s not invention. That isn’t protecting the Constitution. That’s merely giving death and destruction an easier pathway into each of us and that is the definition of evil.

    1. Exactly! Your earlier access to the sun is unfair — although the moon was in my favor last night if I’d had the necessary gumption to login and post that good news that came down while I was teaching! SMILE!

  6. you can select what or who you see in your feed – you read it and it goes passing by – rather than filling up your inbox with updates from goodness knows what – most of my mail box is bacon – and yes I am sad – I find it easier to tune my facebook feed than to filter my emails ! Also I have a lot of diverse friends in all areas of life – so I get a great mix of wierd and wonderful on my FB news feed.

    1. I find the easiest way to do it is when an email comes in that you want to filter into a label, use the “Filter Messages Like This” from the pull-down menu. Select the actions you want, pick/create a label, and then Gmail will apply those rules to all the EXISTING emails in your account that already match that filter. It’s slick! You can go into “All Mail” and choose messages you want to set filters for managing, too.

  7. The company that hosted the blueprints took them down after the State Department told them to, saying it was necessary for them to be reviewed — http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/government-requests-3-d-printed-gun-files-taken-down-pending-1c9869123 — unfortunately, many of the thousands of copies were subsequently uploaded to The Pirate Bay, and they have already stated they have no intention of taking down the files.