Feds force Defense Distributed to remove 3-D gun blueprints

3-D PRINTED GUNGame over for Cody Wilson and his 3-D gun-printing company, Defense Distributed.

The Texas law student announced via Twitter Thursday that the federal government had ordered him to remove several sets of blueprints, including those for the 3-D “Liberator” gun, from the company’s website, DEFCAD.org.

“We got an official letter from the Secretary of State, telling me who they were, what their authority was under U.S. law and telling me they want to review these files to see if they’re class one munitions,” Wilson told Betabeat. “That includes blueprints.”

The letter he was referring to came from the U.S. Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Enforcement Division (DTCC/END), which had demanded that Defense Distributed remove the blueprints from the public domain. While he is not legally restricted from making the weapons for his own use, sharing the blueprints without a license or written approval from the government is illegal. 

Defense Distributed has instead placed a red banner on the website that reads “DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.” The company also issued a tweet informing its supporters of the situation.

According to Forbes, it took just two days for the Liberator’s designs to be downloaded more than 100,000 times. Very few of these individuals would be able to actually build the gun, however, as 3-D printers are not readily available and cost thousands of dollars.

Comments

16 Responses to “Feds force Defense Distributed to remove 3-D gun blueprints”

  1. Sean says:

    I hope nobody tells the gov’t you can make a gun using 100 year old machine tools that cost a fraction of the price of a 3D printer…….

    • Bm says:

      You forgot to mention the truckloads of experience, skill, labor, and prior design knowledge needed.

      • steveH says:

        Do a bit of searching around the ‘net for anything on the design and manufacture of the Sten Mk.III SMG.

        Full-auto, five man-hours and 47 parts. Most of the work doable with hacksaw, hammer, and some files.

        There’s no need to come up with any new and nifty design, the tech has been around since the early 1800s.

  2. poppa india says:

    It’s too late, the knowledge is out there. This is like passing a law saying we must not think the Earth revolves around the Sun. 3-D printers will become cheaper and more available.

    • Willy says:

      Exactly. This will just have the effect of making more people actively seek the download and retain a local copy. Just like Obama’s election caused a spike in gun buying, this will only make the plans more ubiquitous.

  3. OldNuc says:

    As they say, the Genie is out of the bottle and there is no way to put it back.

  4. Can the AK-47 be converted to 3D-printer fabrication? I would think that its design IP is beyond the reach of ITAR … and the 3D-printing process, I would think, is beyond the reach of ITAR since 3D printers are not restricted to US ownership.

    Were this any other administration, I might understand their “concern” more … but we know where the head of this Administration is regarding personal firearms.

    • Steven Cornett says:

      Re: Ritchie,

      ITAR covers not just the manufactured product, but any derivative of an ITAR covered product and the design drawings, notes, and any technical advice given, even if no physical export takes place.

      All, if given to an outsider, are considered exports under ITAR.

      That is not to even mention the issue of ITAR contamination. Look up “ITAR Contamination” on goggle.

      Believe me when I say that the Feds know exactly what they are doing here.

      • The Feds may think they know what they’re doing … but free people know how to find the loopholes in the law, when they are motivated by those who would go well beyond the intent of that law to impose their socio-economic morality upon us.

        Watch for more challenges, soon.

    • @joethepleb says:

      Well at least you admit your obvious bias.

  5. Deoxy says:

    I think the Streisand Effect would be active here – by banning the information (which has already escaped and is “in the wild”), the Feds just made a LOT more people interested in getting it… and it IS available to be gotten.

    Government being stupid… just like 99.99% of the rest of the time.

    • Mike says:

      I saw this coming, and you are exactly right. It will be far easier to get the files on the internet now. What a bunch of idiots.

  6. Mark M. says:

    I haven’t kept up with what happened to ITAR (the International Traffic in Arms Regulations that authorized the State Department to issue a Controlled Technologies List) once commercial encryption was transferred to the Commerce Dept, but I’m skeptical that blueprints for a plastic weapon system based on a 50 year old rifle design that is both public knowledge and as common as the cold could possible be covered. As I recall, the ITAR wasn’t even renewed by Congress, but was being kept around by Executive Orders. You can read up about the relevant case law here, which I was honored to have played a part in.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernstein_v._United_States

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junger_v._Daley

  7. Sean says:

    Yes, and the feds thought that they could control cryptographic software too. They really don’t recognize any practical or theoretical limits to their power, do they?

  8. Roger says:

    Well with the attacks and killings in Benghazi and all the illegals running over the open border to get in on all the free things to come with there amnesty you’d think the Secretary of State would have far more pressing issues then trying to restrict what an American Citizen can read or look for any information.. Next it will be you can’t read that book ! Have that gun drive that car use this do that it starts small and grows just like the damn federal Gov.. people better wake up..

    What will Obama or his lap dog honky John Kerry decide next that is not suitable for a private citizen to read or know about ? As for John Kerry I can’t stand that lieing SOB mr. War hero LOL I still want to know how he got all the medals in less then 3 months active combat in country service ? Myself and many more were there months or yrs and lost body parts and lives and did not get the medals he did and we have the scares to prove it or missing body parts .. Kerry Like Obama has somehow had his records sealed up we have to just take his word for it , We did find out the medalas he tossed away in a D.C protest back in 72 were fakes he had gotten somewhere else not every one forgets ..I guess burds of a feather still do flock together

  9. SleeperG says:

    Per DaybyDaycartoon

    http://thepiratebay.sx/torrent/8449468/Liberator_-_First_3D_Printable_Gun

    And it will continue to be moved. Sometimes passing laws just doesn’t do any good.

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