Canadian gunsmith shoots down accusations of illegality
July 26, 2013
The 3D printing revolution continues apace with the emergence of yet another video, this time showing the first ever printed rifle, firing a shot.
The footage shows the rifle being fired using a piece of string tied to the trigger.
The maker of the weapon, a Canadian hobbyist, explains in the video description that the design is modeled on the coiled mainsprings of the original Defense Distributed 3D printed firearm, known as “The Liberator”.
The man, who has dubbed the rifle “The Grizzly” after Canadian built Sherman Tanks of WWII, notes that “Like the Liberator the only metal is a 1” roofing nail”.
The printed firearm, designed as a single shot weapon, was built to fire a small-caliber .22 rimfire round. The maker says that it was made on a Stratasys Dimension 1200es 3D printer, a professional-grade fabrication device that retails for more than $25,000.
“In this first test it fired off a Winchester Dynapoint but the barrel split along both sides for about 2″ and the top of the receiver split the same amount.” he writes, adding in the comments that “some changes will need to be made” to the next test model.
Posting to the DEFCAD user forum, the maker, under the moniker “CanadianGunNut”, states:
“I was originally going to copy and modify the Liberator, but it may be considered a variant of a prohibited weapon up here, so I went with what we Canadian gun owners call a non-restricted rifle of my own design, which means a lot less paperwork and BS to deal with.”
In a follow up email to tech blog Ars Technica, the maker identified himself as “Matt” from British Columbia, and stated that he is 100% certain his design is within Canadian law.
“I have a valid Possession & Acquisition Licence as required by Canadian gun laws to own firearms.” he writes.
“All that is required to build a firearm for personal use is the same licence, selling requires a manufacturing licence. I do not intend to sell any but will release the files once complete and let people build their own. The rifle is a smoothbore .22 with an overall length of 670mm and permanent stock as required by law to conform to non-restricted status, which require no registration like restricted status firearms.”
He also states that he was inspired by Defense Distributed and DEFCAD founder Cody Wilson’s work on the Liberator Pistol and AR15 lowers.
Wilson, who has pioneered the 3D-printed firearm movement from Austin, Texas, said that he was aware of the man’s activities on his site.
“I’d like to compare it to the Liberator Hydra, which is the rifle version of the Liberator by Proteus, but no one has tested it to my knowledge,” he wrote in an e-mail. “Happy others are willing to share their work. I love the irony that it’s Canadian. What’s wrong with those gun nuts?” he added.
On May 6, Wilson’s group began distributing schematics for their single-shot pistol freely online, allowing anyone connected to the Internet to download them from anywhere in the world. Two days later, the group received a letter from the State Department claiming that what they were doing was illegal according to International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
The letter included a take down order, demanding that all the files be removed from the Defense Distributed website. Wilson, complied with the order. However, the files had already gone viral and spread throughout the internet on sites such as Pirate Bay, meaning they had already been downloaded over 100,000 times.
Wilson’s vision has inspired others to copy the idea and create their own 3D printable firearms, including this one, created for just $25 dollars by hobbyists in Wisconsin, which successfully fired nine .380 caliber rounds.
Legislative attacks have followed at both the city and State level in New York, as well as in other States such as California, and at the national level with the introduction into the House of a bill entitled The Undetectable Firearms Modernization Act, which would ban “any firearm that, after removal of grips, stocks, and magazines, is not as detectable as the Security Exemplar, by walk-through metal detectors calibrated and operated to detect the Security Exemplar.”
Defense Distributed has also recently been targeted by the Department of Homeland Security. Fox News recently reported that a DHS memo is being sent to various state and federal law enforcement agencies cautioning, “Limiting plastic guns may be impossible,” and that 3D guns pose “public safety risks.”
“Significant advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing capabilities, availability of free digital 3D printer files for firearms components, and difficulty regulating file sharing may present public safety risks from unqualified gun seekers who obtain or manufacture 3D printed guns,” warns the bulletin compiled by the Joint Regional Intelligence Center,” the memo states.
“This is a serious threat,” a nervous law enforcement source reportedly told Fox, adding, “These could defeat magnetometers. The only security procedure to catch [the 3D firearms] is a pat down. Is America ready for pat-downs at every event?”
Constitutional experts have stated that although banning the actual manufacture, sale, and possession of plastic weapons is feasible, restricting the schematics of the printable weapons is a violation of the First Amendment.
In a separate move, a Danish 3D printer company has developed an algorithm that would prevent independent 3D printer owners from being able to print gun part files. In response, Wilson told Infowars: “One step behind. We can make any shape into a gun. The community will for the fun of it make such software an annoyance to use.”
Wilson has appeared on Infowars programming numerous times. In this appearance from May, he discusses government moves to shut down printable firearms.
Steve Watson is the London based writer and editor for Alex Jones’ Infowars.com, and Prisonplanet.com. He has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the School of Politics at The University of Nottingham, and a Bachelor Of Arts Degree in Literature and Creative Writing from Nottingham Trent University.