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May 7, 2013

Gun Created By 3-D Printer Fires First Shots

Watch Student Creates Plastic Gun That Fires From 3-D Printer on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

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This past weekend a University of Texas law student became the first person to successfully fire a real bullet out of a plastic gun printed from a three-dimensional printer. The gun, dubbed the “Liberator”, was made from 15 plastic parts created on an $8,000 dollar industrial strength printer.

Cody Wilson, the student behind the gun, is now publishing the blueprint files for the gun online through his gun advocacy group, Defense Distributed, meaning that anyone around the world would be able to download the files and print their own Liberator at home if they have the proper equipment.

Because the gun contains no metal except for a common household nail used as a firing pin and a six-ounce piece of metal added to ensure the weapon is detectable to comply with current law, it could potentially be undetectable to airport security screeners.

Wilson and his group are also developing 3-D printable components for high-capacity automatic weapons. They posted video of test-firings earlier this year.

Warm-up questions

1. What is the Second Amendment?

2. What do you know about 3-D printers?

3. What do you know about the current debate on guns? What are the arguments on both sides?

Discussion questions

1. Why do you think Cody Wilson set out to create this gun?

2. What do you think of the idea of a printed gun? Do you think it will make society safer or more dangerous? Why?

3. If anyone can print an undetectable gun, what does this mean for gun laws?

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