The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
Yahoo Finance (Kelly Hodgkins) reports:
Mechanical engineering student James Patrick['s] . . . PM522 Washbear [is] a 3D-printed pepperbox revolver capable of firing up to 8 bullets between reloads. Except for an elastic band spring, a metal firing pin, and steel rods as detectable metal, the gun is entirely 3D-printed using ABS plastic or a durable nylon material. According to Patrick, it is the world's first functional 3D-printed repeating firearm that has been printed using a consumer 3D printer. . . .
Unlike Cody Wilson's single-fire Liberator gun, Patrick's Washbear . . . revolver . . . allow[s] the user to take multiple shots without reloading.
I think there are plenty of arguments to be had about whether this is a good development, and what, if anything, should and practically could be done about these sorts of weapons designs. New South Wales, Australia, for instance, has just made it a crime to "possess digital blueprints for the manufacture of firearms on 3D printers or electronic milling machines" (see yesterday's article in Computerworld [Rohan Pearce]). Query whether that's sound, and whether the legal infrastructure needed to make that work (which would likely include mandatory governors on the 3-D printers that refuse to use firearms designs, prohibitions on attempts to circumvent those governors, and so on) would be sound. But, like it or not, it looks like 3-D printing of guns is coming, and regulatory policies have to keep it in mind.
Thanks to Robert Dittmer for the pointer.