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The ATF Not Concerned About 3D Printed Guns... Yet 344

derekmead writes "3D-printing gun parts has taken off, thanks to the likes of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. While the technology adds a rather interesting wrinkle to the gun control debate, the ATF currently is pretty hands-off, ... 'We are aware of all the 3D printing of firearms and have been tracking it for quite a while,' Earl Woodham, spokesperson for the ATF field office in Charlotte, said. 'Our firearms technology people have looked at it, and we have not yet seen a consistently reliable firearm made with 3D printing.' A reporter called the ATF's Washington headquarters to get a better idea of what it took to make a gun 'consistently reliable,' and program manager George Semonick said the guns should be 'made to last years or generations.' In other words, because 3D-printed guns aren't yet as durable as their metal counterparts, the ATF doesn't yet consider them as much of a concern."
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The ATF Not Concerned About 3D Printed Guns... Yet

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  • Re:not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nidi62 ( 1525137 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:06PM (#43277383)

    CNC machines have been able to fabricate that part for years already. Sure, now it can also be done on a 3d printer, which just adds one more way to manufacture it.

    Dont forget you can buy receivers that are 80-90% milled already too. Literally all you have to do is drill a few holes and smooth out some metal, and the blanks usually come with instructions on where to drill too. Much easier, cheaper, and reliable than 3D printing one out of plastic

  • by i.r.id10t ( 595143 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @08:41PM (#43277601)

    Is it a natural right to be able to defend yourself? What about defending your family? Neighbors? Fellow citizens?

  • by The Grim Reefer ( 1162755 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @09:25PM (#43277843)

    Yes, but with ubiquitous 3d printers, there will be more for sale.

    I'm not taking a stance, just saying, easy, non-traceable production will make them much more available. If I had to guess, it'll be a bigger problem in countries other than the US, since guns are already fairly easy to come by.

    I don't see how. I remember when I was younger there was a local bar that you could pick up a loaded stolen gun for $20. I think you could pay a little more for one with the serial numbers already filed off too. I'm sure places like that are still around, but the prices may have gone up since then. Still, how much does a 3D printer cost? It's going to be a long time before it's cheaper to print a gun than to steal or buy a stolen one.

    I would also guess that printing guns is going to leave a trail on the hard drive of a computer. It'd probably be a lot more risky to get caught with a log of all of the guns you sold than to get caught with a couple of stolen ones. Criminals may not be academically smart , but I can assure you they know how to skirt the law better than most upstanding citizens would ever guess.

  • by Jane Q. Public ( 1010737 ) on Monday March 25, 2013 @09:44PM (#43277929)

    "However, when that day comes, the ATF is screwed. They will have no more luck at controlling distribution of printable weapons than the MAFIAA has had at controlling distribution of movies and music."

    Spoken like someone who doesn't know squat about either firearms or the law.

    First off, manufacturing your own gun is, and always has been, legal. Anybody can do it. I read a post recently by someone who made one himself. He wrote that it was ridiculously easy. (He made a rifle, complete with rifled barrel, from scratch.)

    ATF isn't concerned because it never has been concerned about people who make their own guns for their own use. As long as it's within certain limits, they simply don't care. (You can't make a gun that would otherwise be illegal. You can't legally build yourself a shotgun that is shorter than legal length, for example.)

    Even though the lower receiver in this type of firearm is considered by ATF to be "the gun", by far more difficult are the upper receiver, bolt & bold carrier, and barrel (which contains the chamber). Nobody is going to be making those out of plastic any time soon. So there really isn't any reason for the ATF to be concerned, AT ALL. Even if it were possible to make the whole gun out of 3D-printed plastic, it's perfectly legal.

  • Because when it blows up, it's going to rip your face apart. When it fails, it's going to fail and take your hand/cheek/eyes. And I doubt they'll come with a 3d printed emergency room.

    It would be much easier to go to the hardware store, and make a gun. And you obviously haven't the foggiest idea as to how 'cheap' 3d printing really is, nor have you compared how much it is to buy a cheap 22 cal.

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