Remember good ‘ol Texan Cody Wilson and the whole 3D gun debacle we discussed back in May? Well, it’s making the news again, only this time it blew up right in the face of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
Taking the online, 3D gun (aka The Liberator) blueprints that were available for free download and a 3D printer, ATF produced their own version of the Liberator.
“We downloaded files; we created firearms from those files; and we tested those firearms,” said Earl Griffith, chief of ATF firearms technology branch.
Discovering that the 3D gun wasn’t as powerful as other guns, ATF determined that it could, in fact, penetrate several inches of soft flesh and a human skull. Even though the Liberator can only fire one shot before needing to be reloaded, that’s all a determined “bad guy” needs to wreak havoc.
“The bottom line is, the penetration results demonstrated that the Liberator is a lethal weapon,” explained Griffith. “The .380 bullets fired from the Liberator penetrate sufficiently to reach vital organs and perforate the skull.”
It appears that in the hands of the wrong individual, even plastic guns can kill, and the ATF feels that we will see other 3D gun models in the future.
A huge concern is that the Liberator can defeat metal detection, enabling it to be carried into places and areas that weapons are banned. Yet, the design of the Liberator is perfectly legal under the Undetectable Firearms Act because it has a block of metal. According to this act, as long as a weapon consists of a certain amount of metal and that metal is detectable, it is legal. However, the metal plays no role in the Liberator’s ability to function and can be easily removed.
What to Know about ATF’s Testing
- This 3D gun was made from a 3D printer and free, online blueprints.
- ATF used acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic material and some plastic made by Visijet.
- The Visijet version exploded during the test.
- This 3D gun can get past metal detectors.
- This 3D gun can penetrate soft flesh and the human skull.
Conclusion: This 3D gun qualifies as a deadly weapon.