Return of The Liberator
On August 1, it will be once again legal to 3D print your own firearm.
Defense Distributed has re-launched its 3D printed firearm repository, known as DEFCAD. This is due to the settlement of their lengthy lawsuit against the US Department of State. The peculiar piece of hardware that is getting all the attention looks more like a knock-off nerf gun than a deadly weapon. It is known as “The Liberator”.
A Brief History Lesson
In 2013 law student, activist, and anarchist Cody Wilson successfully fired his prototype of The Liberator, and almost immediately drew the ire of gun control activists everywhere. The 3D printer files were placed online, and spread like wildfire, downloaded over 100,000 times. The Obama administration tried to stop the spread of these spooky plastic ghost guns by applying existing laws on importation/exportation of firearms to The Liberator; making it illegal to share it’s plans or to print.
With the settlement finalized, it would seem that the open-sourcing of firearms plans is completely legal, but this ruling isn’t without controversy.
Freedom Under Fire
This settlement is already drawing criticism from many sources including President Trump and the Attorney Generals of 21 states. Perhaps we can infer from this that the NRA isn’t backing this decision either. It’s hard to say what will transpire in the coming days, as politicians and activists, and the POTUS are all gunning for DefDis and it’s products. On Tuesday, July 31st, Federal Judge Robert Lasnik has issued a ruling to block the release of these plans, and Defense Distributed has responded by censoring their site and placing the plans behind a paywall. For as low as $5 a month, you can download your own 3D printer plans.
The Bigger Picture
The Liberator is barely a pistol. I have no desire to print one, or fire one. You could make more reliable, more durable improvised guns with a few power tools and things retrieved from the dumpster of a machine shop. We spoke with several experienced 3D print hobbyists, and the answer seems to be resounding. One experienced hobbyist offered this: “3D printed guns aren’t a thing you should be worried about at all. I’ve been in the 3D printing hobby for many years now, and I know first hand that consumer grade desktop printers are simply not capable of printing a gun worth firing… you would need a printer that costs more than your car and is the size of a photocopier.”
The Liberator is a very interesting proof of concept, and a slap in the face to the gun control crowd, and I will give it credit for that. As for making a fully legal, effective and safe firearm, you would be better served finishing your own 80% lower from ABS plastic or aluminum. These things have been legal the entire time DEFON was on hiatus, and they can be assembled into usable semi-auto firearms. One of the plans for a 3D printed lower seems like a safer bet if you actually wish you make one of these things. If you’re fully committed to 2nd Amendment anarchy, you might check out Defense Distributed’s other famous work, the Ghost Gunner; Which is a CNC mill specially equipped for churning out unserialized 80% aluminum AR15 lowers and 1911 lowers.
Editor’s Note: MyFirstAR15 does not encourage or promote or endorse the illegal manufacture or sale of firearms. If you are not legally able to own a firearm, you cannot legally manufacture a gun, 3D printed or otherwise. We seek to promote safe, responsible, LEGAL firearms ownership, building, and modification. YOU ALONE are responsible for your actions and for knowing the laws in your state. This site is for educational and entertainment purposes.