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Over the past few months, there has been a lot of controversy and panic over 3D printed firearms.

The greatest concern is that they do not have serial numbers and re largely untraceable, at the moment, hence the name of ghost guns.  

Being untraceable is believed to make them a choice weapon for terrorists and many criminals.

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Even though a federal judge has issued a ruling to stop Defense Distributed from posting any more blueprint instructions for printing 3D guns, Cody Wilson says a loophole allows him to continue.

Besides, there are already a number of blueprint instructions already on the internet.

But, are 3D printed guns really practical for terrorists and most criminals?

Not according to one person.

(Linus Journal)What’s the practical risk with 3D-printed firearms today? In this opinion piece, Kyle explores the current state of the art.

If you follow 3D printing at all, and even if you don’t, you’ve likely seen some of the recent controversy surrounding Defense Distributed and its 3D-printed firearm designs. If you haven’t, here’s a brief summary: Defense Distributed has created 3D firearm models and initially published them for free on its DEFCAD website a number of years ago. Some of those 3D models were designed to be printed with a traditional home hobbyist 3D printer (at least in theory), and other designs were for Defense Distributed’s “Ghost Gunner”—a computer-controlled CNC mill aimed at milling firearm parts out of metal stock. The controversy that ensued was tied up in the general public debate about firearms, but in particular, a few models got the most attention: a model of an AR-15 lower receiver (the part of the rifle that carries the serial number) and “the Liberator”, which was a fully 3D-printed handgun designed to fire a single bullet. The end result was that the DEFCAD site was forced to go offline (but as with all website take-downs, it was mirrored a million times first), and Defense Distributed has since been fighting the order in court.

The political issues raised in this debate are complicated, controversial and have very little to do with Linux outside the “information wants to be free” ethos in the community, so I leave those debates for the many other articles on this issue that already have been published. Instead, in this article, I want to use my background as a hobbyist 3D printer and combine it with my background in security to build a basic risk assessment that cuts through a lot of the hype and political arguments on all sides. I want to consider the real, practical risks with the 3D models and the current Ghost Gunner CNC mill that Defense Distributed provides today. I focus my risk assessment on three main items: the 3D-printed AR-15 lower receiver, the Liberator 3D-printed handgun and the Ghost Gunner CNC mill…

Rankin goes on to analyze three popular 3D printed guns and you may be surprised by his conclusions.

Basically, he says that 3D printed guns are costly, take too much time and effort and are not nearly as durable as regular guns.

He also points out that one gun in particular is a single shot firearm, not a type of weapon of choice to many terrorists or criminals.

Rankin also discusses that it’s easier to obtain (legally or illegally) a receiver with the serial number and then remove the serial number than it is to print, clean each part and then assemble a 3D printed gun.

For the most part, they are not practical for terrorists or the majority of criminals.




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