Defense Distributed, the company that developed the Liberator 3D printed gun, today released a YouTube video demonstrating its first test firing of the weapon.
With dramatic orchestral music setting the tone, the video shows a man firing a single shot of a white-resin pistol that looks more like a flare gun than a modern handgun -- its only metal component is the firing pin. The video then goes on to depict some of the steps involved in making the Liberator with a 3D printer.
Cody Wilson, the 25-year-old University of Texas law student who founded Austin-based Defense Distributed, told the BBC that he understands that printed guns could be used to hurt people but said: "I don't think that's a reason to not do it -- or a reason not to put it out there."
Defense Distributed's website makes no bones about its goals: "To defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest."
Defense Distributed plans to publish the blueprints for making the printable gun online.
Staples plans to begin selling 3D printers next month. So it's conceivable that people could begin "printing" their own guns this year.
Along with the Liberator, Defense Distributed has also printed a 30-round magazine and the lower receiver for an AR-15 assault rifle, the semi-automatic civilian model of the U.S. military's M16 rifle.
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at @lucasmearian, or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.