Liberator / 3D-Printed Gun
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Liberator is the name of the 3D-printed gun designed by Defense Distributed’s open source printing project DEFCAD. After the blueprints were made available online on May 5th, 2013, they were downloaded more than 100,000 times within four days. On May 9th, 2013, the US Department of Defense Trade Controls requested the files be removed from the site.
On June 4th, 2012, 24-year-old University of Texas law student Cody Wilson founded the organization Defense Distributed with the intent to create a completely 3D-printed, open source gun, which was inspired by gunsmith Michael Guslick’s partially printed rifle. The staff launched the official website that July and released a video (shown below) detailing their ideas to create a “wiki weapon” that would be accessible to anyone.
In August, Defense Distributed launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in order to raise $20,000 for equipments and supplies, including a Stratasys 3D printer and enough plastic filament to built and test several iterations of the firearm. The campaign lasted for 22 days and raised nearly $2,000 dollars before Indiegogo took the page down down, claiming a violation of their terms of service which state that campaigns cannot be used for activities relating to the sales of firearms or certain firearm parts and accessories. After their fundraiser was shuttered on August 27th, they switched to accepting donations via PayPal and Bitcoin through their homepage, raising more than $20,000 by September 20th, 2012.
That September, Wilson leased a 3D printer from Stratasys to begin testing their prototypes. Less than a week after receiving the $15,900 uPrintSE, Wilson received an email from Stratasys' lawyers stating that they wanted the printer returned. Despite the plea that it would not break federal arms-manufacturing laws, the lease was cancelled and contractors came to Wilson's home to seize the printer (shown below). Following this, Wilson consulted with a field office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives who noted that he needed to get a license to manufacture a weapon. By late October 2012, two unnamed companies in Texas offered Defense Distributed safe spaces to work on their designs in secret.
Launch of DEFCAD
In early December 2012, members of Defense Distributed uploaded a video (shown below) demonstrating a partially 3D printed AR-15 rifle based on Guslick's previous design that broke apart after six shots. On December 19th, 2012, Makerbot Industries decided to pull Guslick's design from their blueprint repository Thingiverse in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Schooling. Additionally, Makerbot altered Thingiverse's Trrms of Service to disallow the sharing of objects that "contribute to the creation of weapons."
In response to this, Defense Distributed launched DEFCAD.org, a repository dedicated to hosting any file that Thingiverse would censor. Prior to a takedown in May 2013, DEFCAD hosted blueprints for dozens of
weapon related objects including grenades, rifle pieces, silencers, pistol pieces and ammunition cartridges.
On May 3rd, 2013, Defense Distributed shared photos of his first prototype printed gun, known as the Liberator, possibly inspired by a World War II-era pistol of the same name. The weapon was made nearly entirely from 3D printed parts, with the exception of a nail used as a firing pin and a six ounce piece of steel to make it perceivable by metal detectors.
Two days later, Defense Distributed uploaded a video (shown below) of its test firing. Within 48 hours, the blueprints were downloaded more than 100,000 times. The files were also reshared on The Pirate Bay, where it immediately was one of the most popular 3D printing files.
Department of State Takedown
On May 9th, 2013, less than a week after the Liberator went online, Cody Wilson received a request from the United States Department of State (shown below), asking him to remove the Liberator blueprints from DEFCAD so they could be reviewed by the department. Though Wilson complied and took the files down, there were at least three separate torrents for the Liberator available on The Pirate Bay as of 8:45 p.m. (ET) that evening. Meanwhile, DEFCAD put up a red banner announcing that their files had been removed from public viewing after the US government claimed control of the information.
On July 10th, 2018, Wired reported that the Department of Justice offered Wilson a settlement to end his lawsuit against the U.S. government for preventing the distribution of firearms files. Additionally, the article revealed that Wilson plans to relaunch DEFCAD by the end of the month with additional firearm blueprints collected over the last several years. That day, Wired released a video about the story (shown below).
Meanwhile, posts about the settlement reached the frontpage of /r/Anarcho_Capitalism, /r/GoldandBlack and /r/guns. On July 18th, Wilson appeared as a guest on the podcast Your Welcome With Michael Malice, during which he discussed the recent settlement (shown below).
Donald Trump's Tweet
On July 31st, 2018, Donald Trump tweeted that he was "looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public" after speaking with the National Rifle Association (shown below). Within 48 hours, the tweet gained over 50,300 likes and 10,100 retweets.
On July 29th, 2018, the office of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro published a press released claiming that Defense Distributed already began distributing files, claiming that 1,000 people "downloaded 3D plans for AR-15 semi-automatic rifles." On July 31st, Wilson tweeted that DEFCAD.com was "going dark" due to a block ordered by a Washington State federal judge (shown below).
The following day, CBS News released an interview with Wilson, who revealed he would take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary (shown below).
"What's going to make me comfortable… is when people stop coming into this office and acting like there's a debate about it. The debate is over. The guns are downloadable. The files are in the public domain. You cannot take them back. You can adjust your politics to this reality. You will not ask me to adjust mine."
Sexual Assault of a Minor Charge
On September 19th, 2018, the local TV news station KVUE reported that Wilson had been charged with sexual assault of a minor. Though the age of the victim was not specified, she was described as being under the age of 17.
According to court documents, Wilson allegedly met the victim through the website SugarDaddyMeet.com. Additionally, various messages from the site from a user named Sanjuro identified himself as Wilson and said he was a "big deal." After meeting near a coffee shop in Austin, Texas, the victim claims the two went to the Archer Hotel where Wilson allegedly assaulted her and paid her $500.
 Defense Distributed – Home
 The Daily Dot – Indiegogo shuts down campaign to develop world's first printable gun
 Betabeat – WikiWeapon Campaign to 3D-Print Your Own Gun Suspended by Indiegogo
 Forbes – 3D-Printable Gun Project Hits Its Fundraising Goal Despite Being Booted Off Indiegogo
 Wired – Gun Lobby Loves 3D-Printed Weapons
 Wired – 3-D Printer Company Seizes Machine From Desktop Gunsmith
 Wired – With ‘Safe Haven,’ Desktop Weaponeers Resume Work on 3D-Printed Guns
 MAKE Magazine – Thingiverse Cracks Down on Firearm Parts
 Forbes – This Is The World's First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun (Photos)
 Wikipedia – FP-45 Liberator
 Forbes – 3D-Printed Gun's Blueprints Downloaded 100,000 Times In Two Days (With Some Help From Kim Dotcom)
 Betabeat – At the Command of the State Department, Defense Distributed Pulls Its 3D Printed Gun Blueprints
 The Pirate Bay – Liberator – First 3D Printable Gun
 Wired – A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandoras Box for DIY Guns
 Reddit – /r/AnarchoCapitalism
 Reddit – /r/GoldandBlack
 Twitter – @realDonaldTrump
 Twitter – @Radomysisky
 Attorney General – Attorney General Shapiro Governor Wolf State Police Successfully Block Access to 3D Downloadable Guns in Pennsylvania
 Twitter – @toplohetski
May 09, 2013 at 09:27PM EDT
Jul 20, 2018 at 09:31PM EDT
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