Tech Firm Again Makes 3-D Gun Files Public

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A technology company made thousands of digital-gun files publicly available, including blueprints that will enable users to make plastic guns with three-dimensional printers, reports the Wall Street Journal. Cody Wilson of Defcad has waged a long legal battle against the federal government over the right to share 3-D-gun-related materials. This was the third time he has released such files, but the first time he abided by U.S. foreign export controls, using what he said are digital verification tools to ensure legal file downloads. Wilson said he believed his release of the files would be “impervious” to legal challenge and would help normalize the distribution of such material for easy download. Wilson is offering access for an annual $50 fee, calling his service “Netflix for 3-D guns.”

Critics condemned the action, saying he is bypassing federal gun laws, including those providing for background checks of gun buyers. Foes are also concerned about the proliferation of 3-D-printed guns, which don’t have serial numbers, making it difficult for law-enforcement officers to track them should they be involved in a crime. “The biggest concern with 3-D-printed guns and the technical data for them is that they’re not traceable,” said Kelly Sampson of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, a gun-control group. “It’s a huge loophole and opportunity for people who would otherwise be unable to access firearms to be able to do so.” Federal law generally permits the manufacture of guns for personal use. The State Department, has the responsibility of scrutinizing Mr. Wilson’s new effort. Wilson said he is fighting the imposition of limits on personal freedoms and that he expects people to download the 3-D-gun files not necessarily to manufacture guns, but “as a form of internal resistance.”

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