Civil Liberties

U.K. Newspaper 3D-Prints Pistol, Security Freakout Ensues


3D printed pistol
Daily Mail

Many modern Europeans have a special ability to piss themselves when the subject of firearms comes up, and the international worry-storm triggered by Defense Distributed's development and distribution of plans for a fully 3D-printed, single-shot pistol have created just the latest opportunity for merriment and mayhem in Great Britain. In a story full of very nicely staged assassinesque photos of reporters clutching a "Liberator" pistol in public, the Daily Mail reports how it printed out the gun and "smuggled" it onto the Eurostar train, past security, "alongside hundreds of unsuspecting travellers."

From the Daily Mail:

The pistol, capable of firing a deadly 0.38-calibre bullet, was produced in under 36 hours using a revolutionary £1,700 machine to 'print' its components. And because all the parts are plastic, they did not trigger the metal detectors all Euro-star passengers must pass through.

Last night, the train operator began an urgent investigation into the security breach as experts called for airports and public buildings to review their procedures in light of our revelations.

The Mail on Sunday pieced together the 16-part pistol – called The Liberator by its creators – after downloading the designs. They were originally published by an American university student, who proved the design works by successfully firing a bullet on a shooting range.

Defense distributed removed the plans from its Website last week under orders from U.S. government officials charging "export violations," and even the new, encrypted Mega online storage service is yanking the files, raising suspicions that the company's servers are located in the United States, but they remain available at Pirate Bay and lots and lots of locations elsewhere.

Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson bundled Chinese instructions with the Liberator plans (I've checked and they're in there, though I can't judge the quality of the translation) with the specific goal of putting the designs in the hands of that country's long-suffering residents. He reports that he's already heard of samples being constructed in China.

Do read the Daily Mail piece for an excellent chuckle.