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Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts 528

Sparrowvsrevolution writes in with a story at Forbes about Makerbot deleting gun component blueprints on Thingiverse. "In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut shootings, the 3D-printing firm Makerbot has deleted a collection of blueprints for gun components from Thingiverse, its popular user-generated content website that hosts 3D-printable files. Though Thingiverse has long banned designs for weapons and their components in its terms of service, it rarely enforced the rule until the last few days, when the company's lawyer sent notices to users that their software models for gun parts were being purged from the site. Gun control advocates were especially concerned about the appearance of lower receivers for semi-automatic weapons that have appeared on Thingiverse. The lower receiver is the the 'body' of a gun, and its most regulated component. So 3D-printing that piece at home and attaching other parts ordered by mail might allow a lethal weapon to be obtained without any legal barriers or identification. Makerbot's move to delete those files may have been inspired in part by a group calling itself Defense Distributed, which announced its intention to create an entirely 3D-printable gun in August and planned to potentially upload it to Thingiverse. Defense Distributed says it's not deterred by Makerbot's move and will host the plans on its own site."
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Makerbot Cracks Down On 3D-Printable Gun Parts

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  • by cide1 ( 126814 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @09:14AM (#42346591) Homepage
    "The lower receiver is the the 'body' of a gun, and its most regulated component. So 3D-printing that piece at home and attaching other parts ordered by mail might allow a lethal weapon to be obtained without any legal barriers or identification." This is true, but to print a receiver without a federal firearms manufacturing license is a felony. I can mill one out of aluminum without a 3d printer, it would last a lot longer, but that doesn't make it legal. In general, most "bad" things that people can do with a firearm, are already illegal.
  • what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nten ( 709128 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @09:47AM (#42346821)

    All firearms which fire more than one bullet when the trigger is depressed can only be purchased by non law enforcement if they were manufactured prior to 1986 *and* the class 3 forms and background checks have been done. Doing the class 3 forms won't let you get a newer full auto, and just because its old doesn't mean you don't need the paperwork.

    People complain about the amount of misinformation, but it would help if the laws weren't so complicated. Get rid of the NFA, suppressors are just hearing protection, full-autos are a novelty that would loose their appeal if they were easy to get, and short barrelled rifles and shotguns aren't significantly more deadly than any other firearm.

  • Re:Defense (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @10:04AM (#42346981) Homepage

    And it will cost you upwards of $100,000 to buy the weapon and the cost for ammunition is astronomical due to it's rate of fire. A lot of rich men own these weapons.

    And if guns make people kill, why don't we see these rich guys mowing people down in malls?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:21AM (#42347907)

    I know I'm gonna get shot down as a braindead foreign factard for writing this, especially as I'm posting as Anonymous Coward, but "comment is free", so here's my two cents...

    From the outside, the US can look like a really worrying place to the rest of the civilised world. First, I don't see how so many of you don't see the correlation between the fact there's about as many guns as people in the US and the fact that about 30,000 people a year are killed because of guns - this would strongly suggest a causal link to me. In practically every other country where private ownership of guns is permitted, it's heavily regulated. Most countries require a licence and an interview with a suitable authority in order to possess a firearm. Many countries also require a good reason for owning a gun, and "I wanna protect my family against the ravening hordes" isn't an acceptable reason (elsewhere). Often, active membership of a gun/hunting club is also required. These all seem like logical requirements for the ownership of something which has no purpose other than to kill/maim (again, elsewhere).

    Regarding home defence: the only reason you would even need a firearm to "defend your family" is because there are so many people with guns out there. I also remember reading statistics (can't be arsed to try and find them now - another reason I'll get shot down for this post) that people who have guns in the home are far more likely to commit suicide with them, kill a family member (deliberately or accidentally) or have them stolen than they ever are to successfully defend their home against an intruder. I read a comment recently (again, can't be arsed to find it) from a law enforcement official in Alaska who said that one of the reasons there are so many home invasions is because the criminals are pretty sure that they'll be able to lay their hands on a gun or two during the break-in. He also made the point that a desperate junkie doesn't think rationally, and isn't likely to let the prospect of being shot by the homeowner put them off...

    One of the most worrying things to many of us foreigners, though, is the culture that thinks they need a gun to defend against the tyrannical government. Which tyrannical government is that, then? I know that's the reason the Second Amendment was instituted in the first place, but I'm fairly sure the framers of the constitution never envisioned modern weaponry when they did it. The main argument they seem to offer is they need a gun to defend themselves from the government when they come to take their guns away. Like circular logic much? The 'prepper' folks look like they have paranoid delusions to the rest of the world, and their fears are stoked by right-wing media pundits with their outlandish conspiracy theories.

    The fact that sales of guns and ammunition rocketed after the Newtown shootings is, frankly, shocking to outsiders. In most other countries that have had the misfortune to experience them, one mass shooting is reason enough to institute stricter gun laws. The US has had 36 mass shootings since Columbine...

    As I remember Bill Maher saying years ago, the problem there is that too many people treat the Second Amendment as if it's the Second Commandment. Now I'll sit back and let you tell me all the ways you think I'm wrong... [Apologies for length of rant, but there's a lot of things to admire about US culture, but your unhealthy obsession with guns ain't one of them, and I find it troubling.]

  • by misexistentialist ( 1537887 ) on Thursday December 20, 2012 @11:36AM (#42348111)
    The homicide rate [] is actually only 4 times the rate of those countries. The vehicular death rate is also 4 times more... Sure it's higher, but freedom has a price. These comparisons to countries still subject to the English crown, with no speech rights, and barely any other personal rights are patently absurd. Excessive safety and government control kills countries more than crime. So if you see a trend that the USA is slipping into a "third world nation" perhaps the cause is that the homicide rate has halved over the past 20 years! We're going to need more guns.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama