The federal government has sent a letter to a personal defense advocate demanding he remove the 3D blueprints for a functional homemade gun from his website.
Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed, which hosts designs for 3D-printable firearms and firearm components, has complied with the government order to remove the files.
“DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls,” reads the banner at the top of his website defcad.org. “Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”
Defense Distributed’s Twitter account lays blame on Secretary of State John Kerry:
#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State.
— Defense Distributed (@DefDist) May 9, 2013
On May 6, Wilson announced the test fire of the Liberator gun, named after the single-shot pistol air-dropped in Europe during World War II, was successful. His was the first design for a working gun made from commercially available 3D printers. He immediately put the plans on the website and they were downloaded over 100,000 times in two days.
It did not take long for gun control advocates in Congress to speak out against the gun. Wired reported Charles Schumer (D-NY) said the weapon should be banned.
“Guns are made out of plastic, so they would not be detectable by a metal detector at any airport or sporting event,” said Schumer. “Only metal part of the gun is the little firing pin and that is too small to be detected by metal detectors, for instance, when you go through an airport.”
The advent of 3D-printed guns creates a whole new front in the battle over gun legislation, as regular citizens–and potentially criminals–will be able to procure firearms without the need for a licensed firearms dealer or even a manufacturer.