Given my professional interest in the development of technology, it should come as no surprise that I’ve been following Cody Wilson’s project to design a working firearm that can be produced on a 3d printer. For anyone not paying attention, Wilson succeeded in test firing his “Liberator” pistol a few days ago and posted the CAD files for anyone to download. Yesterday, the U.S. State Department ordered him to take the files down, claiming possible violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. In other words, the United States government is asserting that Wilson’s printable firearm, capable of firing only a handful of rounds before wearing out, is a secret defense technology that must be prevented from falling into the hands of any non-U.S. citizens who might be browsing the web. This despite the fact that, before they acted, those files had already been downloaded more than 100,000 times by people all over the world, and that they had also already been uploaded to Pirate Bay. As of this writing, the CAD files for the Liberator pistol can be accessed here. Clearly, somebody at the State Department saw a cloud of dust disappearing in the distance and started frantically looking around for a barn door to shut.
I have made no secret of the fact that I am both a supporter of civil liberties and a strong opponent of idiocy in government, both of which motives have prompted me to write this post. Having tried (and failed) to suppress a small caliber pistol of no conceivable military value, the State Department will no doubt now display even greater alarm at my posting here of technical drawings for a much more powerful weapon; one that has proven military value and has, in fact, been used on the battlefield by the U.S. Army, among others. I present to you now the official patent drawings for Richard Gatling’s famous machine gun (click to enlarge):
Further information, including a full technical description of this deadly weapon, can be found here, courtesy of the infamous weapons smuggling ring known as Google Patents.