horse. barn door. etc.

Apparently the Federal Government is still operating under some marked delusions as to how the internet works and what they can or cannot actually control. Granted, this time it is the Department of State Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, rather than the White House, but you would think they would at least share notes.

Anywise, by now, you have all heard that the above office demanded that Defense Distributed remove the plans for their "Liberator" pistol from DefCAD, along with another nine designs for creating other firearms, suppressors, and parts. Surprisingly, despite claiming previously he would not, Cody Wilson went ahead and yanked the files in question… but you and I both know that is not the end of it.

The files have already made it to Pirate Bay, where thousands of "seeders" are ensuring it propagates to the infinite corners of the internet, and while I was doing my part to propagate the spread of the Liberator itself, in light of this, I have decided to pull that file for now; still, if a single person downloaded it, my purpose for hosting it was fulfilled.

And that is the problem the State Department, and the White House, face – once you put something on the internet, it is functionally impossible to remove it. Teenagers discover this all the time, but apparently they have neglected to pass on the lesson to their parents who work for / are the feddies.

Unfortunately, our problem goes a bit deeper than the files being yanked from DefCAD, as Joe Huffman endeavors to explain. I cannot say as though I understand the full details (and given that professional lawyers do not either, I am not ashamed by that admission), but the short-and-sweet is that the International Traffic in Arms Regulations were written way before the internet became what we know today, and now it appears that an overly zealous State Department official could potentially prosecute someone for an ITAR violation if that someone puts up a video of how to employ a hasty sling and that video is viewed by a foreigner.

Let that sink in for a second. Go read Joe’s post if you do not believe me. The concept of requiring all FFLs, firearm trainers, and everyone else even vaguely related to the firearm industry (up to and including we mere webloggers?) pay $2000+ a year for the "privilege" of engaging in that business, even though there may not be any export transpiring at all, should be enough to send chills down your spine.

"Gun control" failed as legislation, but damned if it does not look like they are going to try to shoehorn it in through regulation. I wish I could say I was surprised.

I wish I could also say I will be surprised when the First Amendment loses its case in the name of "national security"….

(Also, it is worth noting that the Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance did not at all care about Fast and Furious exporting actual firearms to Mexico. Interesting.)

you can’t stop the signal, mal

“Everything goes somewhere, and I go everywhere.”

Or, to put it another way, “the internet sees censorship as damage and routes around it.”

On 05MAY13, DefDist successfully optested their almost-entirely-3D-printed handgun, aptly named (for a variety of reasons) “The Liberator”.  It looks like they also unsuccessfully optested it at least once, but that is rather besides the point; the proof of concept has been completed, now it is just a matter of polishing it up.

And speaking of polishing things, the folks at DefCAD went and published the files necessary to print your own Liberator; however, just in case something… untowards… happens to that particular site or file, you may download your own copy from my site here, you are out of luck on account of the Department of State being dicks.  I promise I did absolutely nothing to the file except download it and upload it.

While you are at it, you may also want to download the DefCAD Mega Pack, but I am not going to rehost it here; the file is just about half a GB of 3D file goodness.

Be advised:  I am not a lawyer and my legal advice is worth exactly what you paid for it; however, 3D printing a device that can discharge a cartridge of ammunition will likely result in you creating an Any Other Weapon (specifically on account of the barrel probably not being rifled) and thus in violation of the National Firearms Act (punishments of up to 10 years in prison and $10,000 to $250,000 in fines are possible).  I am not sure if adding rifling would necessarily change this.

Additionally, printing an entirely polymer device capable of discharging a cartridge of ammunition will run you afoul of the Prohibition of Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988 (and 2003, since it was allowed to lapse for five years before being renewed for another 10 in ‘03).  The law is once again due to sunset on 09DEC13, and these new 3D printing developments have already encouraged “Representative” Steve Israel to propose legislation renewing the prohibition and expanding it to include magazines.

The fact that such legislation would be rather pointless appears lost on him.

I am not sure if those two warnings apply to devices that can only discharge black powder and cannot chamber or fire cartridges; I would imagine not, but I would not want to be the test case.

As I recently said on Twitter, book burning was made obsolete by the movable type printing press.  It would appear as though “gun control” has been made obsolete by the three-dimensional printer.

Freedom always wins.

(And just in case someone does not get the reference:

I wish there was a longer version online.)

totalitarians hated the printing press too

I was going to include this with my previous post regarding New York’s obscene new laws and Connecticut’s desired idiocy, but I figured it deserved a post of its own:

That, fellow defenders of liberty, is a magazine fabricated on (I think) a stereolithography (SLA) printer out of (I think) an epoxy-based resin; the specifics are not entirely clear, but, frankly, I would rather the folks at DefDist spend their time ironing out their designs rather than walking topically-ignorant folks like me through the details. The fabricators/designers of the magazine felt comfortable saying it would survive at least 100 rounds before the feed lips sufficiently deformed to the point of uselessness; I wonder how long until someone makes a mold that can somehow correct that.

So tell me, oh you idiot legislators from Kalifornistan, New York, Connecticut, and even our nation’s capitol – how, exactly, do you think your arbitrary and capricious limits are going to work out when any halfway competent geek can download a normal-capacity magazine design from the internet and crank it out on his desktop printer? “Gun control” is soon going to join “book burning” in the dustbin of history, with both activities’ supporters being regarded with equal disdain.

I dare say it is time for me to start looking at DefCad files and seeing how this whole 3D printing thing works… It is not like I am going to be purchasing magazines or ammunition at their currently panic-inflated prices, but securing the means to learn about how to produce my own magazines for the foreseeable future? Sounds like a good investment to me.

In fact, I am having a very difficult time currently trying to talk myself out of supporting the Robo 3D Kickstarter, especially after Our Glorious President’s recent bout of idiocy. Yes, I know that fused deposition molding (FDM – what this printer uses) is a less-exact, less-capable technology than the SLA employed by DefDist (think of the former as “dot matrix” and the latter as “laserjet”)… but this little printer costs all of $520 ($619 if you want ABS printing), while DefDist’s Objet printer runs somewhere in the $500,000 range. I can only rationalize one of those numbers.

And it is not like I could not find a thousand and one other things to print with it… in fact, I have already devised a cute little idea that could be used to defray some of the costs, and thanks to TinkerCad (which I wish offered a one-time purchase price), I already designed it.

At this point, the “gun control” movement – and specifically its “assault weapon” ban and “high-capacity” magazine ban wings – is the modern version of a book-burning pogrom, and will meet with about as much success. Oh, to be sure, some people will turn in their guns, and some token examples will be destroyed in farces of news conferences, but home workshops, machinist shops, and 3D printers will all start spooling up. The “firearm” djinn is out of the bottle, folks, and you can’t stop the signal.