The future just got a lot scarier.
A Texas company is set to release blueprints online that could be used to make a plastic gun with a 3D printer, Sen. Charles Schumer warned Sunday.
The non-profit, Defense Distributed, announced last week it made a working plastic gun using a 3D printer - and said it plans to post the blueprints for “The Liberator” online this week.
The Liberator may look like a toy, but “this gun can fire regular bullets, and can accept silencers and other attachments," Schumer said, as he called for legislation aimed at outlawing the technology’s weapons potential.
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The bill was drafted by Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.).
“Security checkpoints, background checks
- Getting a new shipment of supplies to orbit can take months of preparation, but if you send up some plastic filament and a 3D printer, you can make a lot of objects as needed
- The 3D printer uses a process formally known as additive manufacturing to heat a relatively low-temperature plastic filament and extrude it one layer at a time to build the part defined in the design file sent to the machine
- A user needs to just draw in the air and the pen pushes out a thin layer of heated plastic that quickly hardens to create the 3D models of your choice
To Schumer, the ramifications of make-your-own untraceable and undetectable weapons is “stomach-churning.”
“These guns are just as deadly as any you’d see in a gun store, impossible to detect, and can easily be made by anyone with an internet connection and a thousand dollars,” the cost of a 3D plastic printer, Schumer said.
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"Now anyone, a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage," he said. “It must be stopped.”
Defense Distributed’s version of the Liberator reportedly didn’t violate the law because it included a six-ounce piece of metal — but people printing out the 16 components at home could easily replace that part with plastic.
Schumer stressed that he doesn’t have a problem with the 3D printers, which use digital blueprints to form 3D objects using hard, molded plastic.
"It's an extraordinary technology" with productive uses ranging from healthcare to manufacturing. But, he added, “there are a number of actors looking to use it for scary purposes. And that's what we have to stop.”