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US State Department orders removal of Defense Distributed's printable gun designs

The US State Department has ordered Defense Distributed to take down the designs for a working 3D printed gun, citing export control rules set out in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson is appealing, and says that ITAR does not apply to "non-profit public domain releases of technical files designed to create a safe harbor for research and other public interest activities" -- though this carve out is for works stored in a library. Wilson's appeal may turn, then, on whether the Internet is a library for the purposes of this regulation. In the meantime, the designs are still up on The Pirate Bay, and are for sale in printed form in an Austin bookseller. More than 100,000 copies of the designs were downloaded from Defense Distributed's servers in the brief time that they were online.

“Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final [commodity jurisdiction] determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled,” reads the letter, referring to a list of ten CAD files hosted on Defcad that include the 3D-printable gun, silencers, sights and other pieces. “This means that all data should be removed from public acces immediately. Defense Distributed should review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any other data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.”

Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas in Austin, says that Defense Distributed will in fact take down its files until the State Department has completed its review. “We have to comply,” he says. “All such data should be removed from public access, the letter says. That might be an impossible standard. But we’ll do our part to remove it from our servers.”

Wilson's project is raising some important legal questions, such as whether design files can be considered expressive speech under the First Amendment, and whether the Internet is a library. The question of code-as-speech was famously considered in the Bernstein case, where strong crypto was legalized. However, as we discovered in the 2600 case, judges are less charitably inclined to code-as-speech arguments when they're advanced by non-academics, especially those with counter-culture stances.

Impact litigation -- where good precedents overturn bad rules -- is greatly assisted by good facts and good defendants. I would much rather the Internet-as-library question be ruled on in a less emotionally overheated realm than DIY guns.

State Department Demands Takedown Of 3D-Printable Gun Files For Possible Export Control Violations [Andy Greenberg/Forbes]

(Thanks to everyone who sent this in!)

3D printed gun fires


Yesterday, I wrote about Defense Distributed's 3D printed handgun, and asked whether it would fire, and how many rounds it could fire before experiencing stress fractures, melting, etc. Now, Forbes's Andy Greenberg follows up with a report of the successful firing of the gun -- though not its longevity -- and says that Defense Distributed will publish the CAD files for printing your own gun on its site today, along with videos of the gun in action.

Unlike the original, steel Liberator, though, Wilson’s weapon is almost entirely plastic: Fifteen of its 16 pieces have been created inside an $8,000 second-hand Stratasys Dimension SST 3D printer, a machine that lays down threads of melted polymer that add up to precisely-shaped solid objects just as easily as a traditional printer lays ink on a page. The only non-printed piece is a common hardware store nail used as its firing pin...

Even Wilson himself says he’s not sure exactly how that’s possible. But one important trick may be the group’s added step of treating the gun’s barrel in a jar of acetone vaporized with a pan of water and a camp stove, a process that chemically melts its surface slightly and smooths the bore to avoid friction. The Dimension printer Defense Distributed used also keeps its print chamber heated to 167 degrees Fahrenheit, a method patented by Stratasys that improves the parts’ resiliency.

Meet The 'Liberator': Test-Firing The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Gun [Andy Greenberg/Forbes]

(Thanks, Andy!)

Defense Distributed claims working 3D printed handgun


Defense Distributed's Cody Wilson claims he has attained his stated goal of 3D printing a working handgun. There's no footage of it firing yet, nor details on how many rounds it fires before the plastic is worn out. And although this is a fascinating provocation, it is not (yet) a game-changer, especially in America where traditional guns (capable of firing thousands of rounds without melting down) are cheap and easy to get. You can even "3D print" a gun by asking different CNC shops to cut and overnight you all the parts to make up a working gun, breaking the job down into small pieces that are unlikely to arouse suspicion.

All sixteen pieces of the Liberator prototype were printed in ABS plastic with a Dimension SST printer from 3D printing company Stratasys, with the exception of a single nail that’s used as a firing pin. The gun is designed to fire standard handgun rounds, using interchangeable barrels for different calibers of ammunition.

Technically, Defense Distributed’s gun has one other non-printed component: the group added a six ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. In March, the group also obtained a federal firearms license, making it a legal gun manufacturer.

This Is The World's First Entirely 3D-Printed Gun (Photos) [Andy Greenberg/Forbes]

Cartoonists speak out for gun control

Ruben "Tom the Dancing Bug" Bolling sez, "I organized this video, getting cartoonists as diverse as Trudeau (Doonesbury), Spiegelman (Maus, etc), Keane (Family Circus), Mazzucchelli (Batman etc), Mo Willems (Pigeon, Knuffle Bunny) and others to illustrate a script advocating gun law reform narrated by Julianne Moore (!) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (!!)."

Cartoonists

San Diego cop smashes phone & beats up suspect: "Phones can be converted to a weapon. Look it up online."

A San Diego cop beat up a man whom he was ticketing for illegal smoking, after the man refused to stop video-recording the experience. The cop told the man that he feared the phone might actually be a gun disguised as a phone, before smashing the phone and tackling the man and smashing his face into the boardwalk. He was taken away in an ambulance.

It all seemed pretty civil until the cop writing the citation told him to stop recording, which Pringle refused to do.

“Phones can be converted into weapons …. look it up online,” the cop told him.

Last month, a South Florida cop confiscated a man’s phone citing the same reason, so maybe this is a new trend.

When Pringle tried to talk sense into the cop, the cop slapped the phone out of his hand where it fell onto the boardwalk and broke apart.

The other cop then pounced on him, slamming him down on the boardwalk where he ended up with a laceration on his chin.

“Blood was everywhere,” Pringle said. “I was laying on my stomach and he had one knee on my back and the other knee on the side of my face.

“They kept telling me ‘to calm down,’ that ‘you’re making this worse for yourself,’ that ‘you have no right to record us.’”

He didn't get the cop's name, and the SDPD won't give it to him.

San Diego Police Attack and Arrest Man Video Recording Them, Claiming Phone Could be a Weapon (Updated) 294 (via Techdirt)

Rep Steve Israel trying to score points with 3D printed gun hysteria

Michael Weinberg from Public Knowledge sez "Last week, Rep. Steve Israel introduced a bill designed to regulate firearms that cannot be found by metal detectors. The bill makes a passing reference the 3D printing, which is fine. But the rhetoric that Rep. Israel is using to promote the bill is both muddled and overblown, and focuses almost exclusively on 3D printing. He sent a letter to his fellow Members of Congress titled 'Co-Sponsor Legislation to Ban 3D Printed Guns.' This is a problem." Cory

Cops in Somerville, MA: "It would endanger the public to tell you what guns we have"

Michael from Muckrock sez, "Want to know what guns your neighbor has? Generally public record. What guns your government has? That's top secret. A recent public records request for the armaments of a local police department in Somerville, MA., was met with a surprising response: Releasing a list of guns the department held 'is likely to jeopardize public safety,' and so is exempt from public disclosure. Maybe they're arming up for an insurrection? Cory

Best Amendment: a game that plays out consequences of fighting bad guys with guns with good guys with guns


The Best Amendment is a pay-what-you-like Mac/Win/Flash game that plays out NRA president Wayne LaPierre's infamous statement that "The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

The first level is straightforward. You’re a little white cone-shaped fella, and you need to go get the star before the timer runs out. With each successive level, a new black-colored cone guy is added, and you have to shoot them to get more stars. Sometimes they shoot back at you, or even at each other.

The catch: Their behavior is totally determined by your actions in previous levels. If you hang out near a wall and spray a machine gun wildly, on the next level there will be a new bad guy who does the exact same thing, and you’ll have to shoot him with a bazooka or shotgun or whatever the game has armed you with.

The result is an exponential increase in violence from level to level. The game has no set limit on the number of levels, and eventually you’ll be overwhelmed and destroyed by the perpetually repeating actions of one of your past selves.

The game was created by Paolo Pedercini, who previously created "Unmanned" (a game about drone pilots) "Operation Pedopriest" (a satirical game about the Catholic Church); Free Culture; McDonald's Video Game; and most notoriously, Phone Story, a game about mobile phone manufacture that was banned from the Ios App Store (you can still get it for Android).

Pedercini normally gives his games away, but he's asking for pay-what-you-like donations this time to fund a workshop series called "Imagining Better Living Through Play," an "initiative is meant to help activists and grassroots organizations make games for social change and personal empowerment."

The Best Amendment Indie Game Takes On the NRA [Wired/Ryan Rigney]

Just look at this liquid nitrogen-dipped banana being shot with a steel bearing.


Just look at it.

I Broke my Banana (Thanks, Philip!)

Kalashnikov made of bones


New Zealand artist Bruce Mahalski has put a new sculpture of an AK47 assembled from animal bones up for sale, with a starting bid of NZD3500. It's quite a beautiful piece of work.

The latest bone gun by New Zealand bone artist – Mahalski – is a life-size AK47 machine gun(330mm x 940mm) featuring found animal bones from rabbit, stoat, ferret, sheep, hawk, pheasant, wallaby, snapper, snake, blackbird, tarakihi, hedgehog, broad-billed prion , shear water, thrush, seal ,cat and possum (plus part of a skull from the extinct moa ). The gun is made entirely of bones mounted on an invisible wooden frame and is displayed standing upright on two rods on a piece of recycled matai timber (1130mm x 2000mm). You can see more pictures at - www.mahalski.org

KALASHNIKOV - AK47 (LIFE-SIZE REPLICA) Brand new item (Thanks, Bruce!)

Assemblage raygun


The latest piece from mad assemblage sculptor Roger Wood is this delightful ray-gun: "Another mental health break from clocks with this Steampunk ray gun and charging stand."

Cody R Wilson's 3D-printed guns: the VICE documentary

Erin Lee Carr produced this VICE Motherboard documentary on Cody R Wilson of Defense Distributed (DD), who "figured out how to print a semi-automatic rifle from the comfort of his own home" and is now spreading the gospel of "wiki weapons." Yes, they even have a manifesto.

Wilson, who recently pitched his ideas at SXSW, is sharing the HOWTO online and encouraging others to join him.

Read the rest

Muzzle-suppressor shot glasses


A mere $200 gets you this pelicanoid case with four of Muzzleshot's muzzle-suppressor-shaped shot-glasses, machined from solid aluminum and covered in a matte black anodized finish.

Muzzleshot (via OhGizmo)

Proposed Maryland anti-zero-tolerance law would tell schools to stop suspending kids who point their fingers at each other and say "bang"

Maryland State Senator J.B. Jennings (R) has introduced Senate Bill 1058, The Reasonable School Discipline Act of 2013, which is aimed at ending the incredibly stupid "zero tolerance" policies that result in kids being suspended or expelled for pointing a stick at another kid and saying "bang!" Here's the preamble:

FOR the purpose of prohibiting a principal from suspending or expelling a student who brings to school or possesses on school property a picture of a gun, a computer image of a gun, a facsimile of a gun, or any other object that resembles a gun but serves another purpose; prohibiting a principal from suspending or expelling a student who makes a hand shape or gesture resembling a gun…

Lenore "Free Range Kids" Skenazy sums up some of the incidents that inspired the bill: "the Hello Kitty bubble gun, and the Lego gun, and the imaginary grenade throw in a game of imaginary save-the-world, and last but not least the terrifying pastry gun."

Zero-tolerance is the same thing as zero-intelligence. You don't need human beings to enforce zero-tolerance systems -- if you want to run schools on the basis of "zero-tolerance," you could fire all the teachers and replace them with Commodore PET personal computers running very short BASIC programs.

Right to Bear Gun-Shaped Pop-Tarts Law Drafted

(Image: Gun, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from pedroalonso's photostream)

Science and gun violence: why is the research so weak? [Part 2]

Part 2 of Science and gun violence: why is the research so weak?

The town of Macapá is in the north of Brazil, on the coast, where the Amazon River flows into the Atlantic.

Read the rest