Is Printing a Gun Illegal?

A recent post on TechCrunch asks this rather intriguing question: Is Printing A Gun The Same As Buying A Gun?

The answer to their question (and to my blog post title) is a little weird: Sorta.

The gun in question is the AR-15. And specifically, we’re talking about a portion of the gun called the “Lower Receiver.” From a discussion happening on Thingiverse, here’s a bit more info:

The Lower Receiver is the frame that holds together all the other pieces of the firearm. In the States, all the other pieces can be purchased without a permit – over the counter or through the post. The Lower Receiver is the only part which requires a background check or any other kind of paperwork before purchase.

So it seems, according to this post at Make, that the actual printing/creating of the lower receiver is actually illegal. Manufacturing it would require some kind of Federal license. But there’s no law against posting up a blueprint for the lower receiver, nor is there any law against downloading said blueprint.

In fact, if you’re curious to see it or want to download it yourself, you can.

While they’re not currently in every household, 3D printing isn’t exactly new. Not only are we printing plastics, but we’re also building with living cells as well.

As this technology becomes more commonplace, and as more people experiment and tinker with printing physical objects… it’s going to get really interesting. It definitely raises the eyebrows, and seeing this article has had me scratching my head for most of the evening.

For more 3D printer reading, check out Make’s 3D Printing tag.

[via TechCrunch]

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