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Homeland Security Sends Out Bulletin on 3D-printer Guns

By - Source: via Fox News | B 23 comments
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DHS has apparently sent out an intelligence bulletin regarding guns manufactured using 3D printers.

The last couple of weeks has seen discussion on 3D printing and guns skyrocket. While we've always known that you could potentially make anything with a 3D-printer, the arrival of two working models of 3D-printed guns has garnered interest from the State Department and now Homeland Security.

Fox News claims to have obtained a recent Homeland Security bulletin addressing the issue of guns produced using 3D printers. Fox news cites the Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin as saying it would be "impossible" to stop 3D-printed guns from being produced or getting past security check points.


"Significant advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing capabilities, availability of free digital 3D printer files for firearms components, and difficulty regulating file sharing may present public safety risks from unqualified gun seekers who obtain or manufacture 3D printed guns," Fox quotes the bulletin as saying. It eventually concludes: "Limiting access may be impossible," concludes the three-page bulletin.

The bulletin stems from a 3D-printed gun developed by non-profit Defense Distributed. The company's 'Liberator' gun is made of sixteen components, each printed using ABS plastic. In fact, the only parts of the gun that aren't plastic are the firing pin (a single nail), and a six ounce chunk of steel that Defense Distributed added to ensure the gun was detectable by metal detectors and so in compliance of the Undetectable Firearms Act. The bulletin says that if people choose to omit this part of the weapon, the guns could become increasingly hard to detect.

Defense Distributed made the CAD files for the Liberator available for download online but, after just a few days, the files were pulled at the behest of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. The letter from the State Department cited potential violation of gun export laws (specifically, the International Traffic in Arms Regulations or ITARs) and said Defense Distributed should treat the data as ITAR-controlled until it receives final determinations from the Department. Unfortunately, the State Department can't do much about copies of the files downloaded before they were removed from Defense Distributed's site. In fact, earlier this week, an engineer showed off his own version of the Liberator that he printed at home using a consumer-level 3D printer.

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  • 0 Hide
    BulkZerker , May 25, 2013 6:09 AM
    Defence distributed is honestly helping homeland SSEcurity by doing what they are doing
  • 0 Hide
    BulkZerker , May 25, 2013 6:09 AM
    Defence distributed is honestly helping homeland SSEcurity by doing what they are doing
  • -2 Hide
    dredre9987 , May 25, 2013 6:33 AM
    I would be very careful taking Fox at their word. They have been known to "produce" their own news ( by making up sources and blogging about something then reporting it as fact ).
  • Display all 23 comments.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 25, 2013 6:49 AM
    Just another lame attempt at taking away your freedoms. Screw them.
  • 9 Hide
    greenspoon , May 25, 2013 7:18 AM
    This is a test. Have not been able to see comments for three days. Checking if posting fixes the issue. Please down-vote.
  • 0 Hide
    killerchickens , May 25, 2013 8:17 AM
    I would like to see some one actually fire a 3D printed gun.
  • 0 Hide
    DRosencraft , May 25, 2013 8:26 AM
    Well, since most of the gun is going to be made of plastic, and the only metal component is likely to be the bullets and firing pin, it stands to reason the only way the gun itself will be detected is in a physical search. This is a serious problem, because whatever you think of the government or gun rights, there are people who should not have guns, and unregulated 3D printing makes it all too easy for existing safeguards to be circumvented. The only silver lining is that right now 3D printing isn't all that great for guns at the moment (they tend to be useful for only a couple shots).
  • 0 Hide
    x2ruff4u , May 25, 2013 8:42 AM
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    rohitbaran , May 25, 2013 8:49 AM
    I don't think that normal people will be doing wrong with this tech, but it probably gives a tool to the bad guys to fabricate parts and then get it passed through scanners. I sort of agree with the bulletin's point and I believe they are worried about the bad guys using this at public places and not regular people trying out in their backyards.
  • 1 Hide
    TheCapulet , May 25, 2013 9:43 AM
    Fearmongering. While the gun may be undetectable in certain situations (But seriously, not really), Bullets with their blatantly brass or steel cases, copper plated steel or lead projectiles, and incredibly explosive powder will NEVER make it past the same checkpoints.
    And anyone without a Felony criminal record can legally manufacture guns in the United States, whether it's made out of plastic, steel, or space rock. All you have to do is fill out a short amount of paperwork and pay a small licensing fee.
  • 0 Hide
    heero yuy , May 25, 2013 1:03 PM
    so there are now plastic bullets? as in the entire bullet and casing is made of plastic?
    I live in England and I can still see that plastic bullets wouldn't really work
  • 0 Hide
    NightLight , May 25, 2013 1:56 PM
    maybe they can do the same thing they did with inkjet/laser copiers if you try to copy money.
  • 2 Hide
    shinkueagle , May 25, 2013 4:35 PM
    If that is the case then the TSA is now officially made useless... DOWN WITH THE TSA!!! TOTALLY SHITTY ASSHOLES!!!!
  • 2 Hide
    falchard , May 25, 2013 6:21 PM
    Most people don't know this, there are no laws that prevent a person from making their own gun. There are laws against buying certain guns. The only way this can acted upon is through violating constitutional rights.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 25, 2013 6:28 PM
    Blocking currency copying is done by integrating non-copyable components in the source and watermarks that get detected to prevent copying.
    For 3D printing, you can use your own CAD tools to re-create any design based on blueprints so there is no trace of the source material for the 3D printer to detect and block copying of.
    Trying to regulate 3D printed guns and proliferation of blueprints is somewhat ridiculous since a gun is little more than a hollow tube with a holding and firing mechanism attached to one end. A crude gun requires very little knowledge beyond your ammo's dimensions and the minimum thickness the barrel wall needs to be to contain the expanding gas.
    I'm glad the DHS at least acknowledged that this is one battle they are extremely unlikely to win due to how little effort this requires once the technology is in people's hands.
  • 0 Hide
    zoemayne , May 25, 2013 8:10 PM
    please down vote "heero yuy" into oblivion
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    nitrium , May 25, 2013 8:27 PM
    "so there are now plastic bullets? as in the entire bullet and casing is made of plastic?"
    The point is that small bullets (e.g. .22 LR or 0.38 Special) have about as much metal on them as the zip on your jeans, or your wedding ring, and far less than a belt buckle. Metal detectors are obviously deliberately set to NOT go off for mundane items, thus bullets will NOT be detected by standard metal detectors unless you want them set up so every pair of jeans, every ring, every necklace etc rings the alarm - i.e. for basically EVERYONE that steps through it.
  • 2 Hide
    Mike Friesen , May 25, 2013 9:20 PM
    There are 17 comments. Oh really? That's very interesting... I think it would only be better if I could READ them!
  • 0 Hide
    internetlad , May 26, 2013 12:46 PM
    3 comments, 1 is spam.
  • 0 Hide
    jkflipflop98 , May 26, 2013 10:17 PM
    Does anyone else see the irony of these people giving out IT advice?
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