Liberator (gun)

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For the World War II single shot pistol, see FP-45 Liberator.
Liberator
XP002
Type Pistol
Place of origin  United States
Production history
Designer Defense Distributed
Designed 2013
Specifications
Length 8.5 in (216 mm)
Barrel length 2.5 in (64 mm)
Height 6.3 in (160 mm)

Cartridge .380 ACP
Feed system Single Shot

The Liberator is a physible, 3D-printable single shot handgun, the first such printable firearm design made widely available online.[1][2][3] The open source firm Defense Distributed designed the gun and released the plans on the Internet on May 6, 2013. The plans were downloaded over 100,000 times in the two days before the US Department of State demanded Defense Distributed retract the plans.[4]

The plans for the gun remain hosted across the Internet and are available at file sharing websites like The Pirate Bay.[5][6]

Namesake and concept[edit]

The pistol is named after the FP-45 Liberator, a single-shot pistol that George Hyde designed and that the Inland Manufacturing Division of the General Motors Corporation mass-produced for the United States Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in World War II. The OSS intended to air drop the gun into occupied Europe for resistance forces to use.[7][8][9] A project of the OSS (which would later become the CIA), it is thought the Liberator was equally purposed as a tool of psychological warfare.[7] Occupying forces in Europe would have to weigh evidence of distributed pistols as a factor in planning against civilian resistance, which would complicate their strategy and affect morale. However, though used in France, there is little proof that the pistols were ever dropped into occupied Europe in large quantities.[7]

The physible Liberator's release to the Internet can be understood as Defense Distributed’s attempt to more successfully execute the historical psychological operation, and as a symbolic act supporting resistance to world governments.[9][10]

Digital Liberator pistol by Defense Distributed

Withdrawal of plans and The Pirate Bay hosting[edit]

Days after their publication, The United States Department of State's Office of Defense Trade Controls issued a letter to Defense Distributed demanding that it retract the Liberator plans from public availability.[11] The State Department justified this demand by asserting the right to regulate the flow of technical data related to arms, and its role in enforcing the Arms Export Control Act of 1976.

However, soon thereafter the design appeared on The Pirate Bay (TPB), which publicly stated its defense of the information. Quoted on TorrentFreak: "TPB has for close to 10 years been operating without taking down one single torrent due to pressure from the outside. And it will never start doing that."[6]

The site would go on to issue a statement on its Facebook page:

So apparently there are some 3D prints of guns in the physibles section at TPB. Prints that the US government now claim ownership of. Our position is, as always, to not delete any torrents as long as its contents are as stated in the torrents description. Printable guns [are] a very serious matter that will be up for debate for a long time from now. We don't condone gun violence. We believe that the world needs less guns, not more of them. We believe however that these prints will stay on the internets regardless of blocks and censorship, since that's how the internets works. If there's a lunatic out there who wants to print guns to kill people, he or she will do it. With or without TPB. Better to have these prints out in the open internets (TPB) and up for peer review (the comment threads), than semi hidden in the darker parts of the internet.

The Pirate Bay, May 10, 2013

Reception[edit]

Original copies of the Liberator have been permanently acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum,[12][13][14] and a copy of the gun is on display at London's Science Museum.

Usage history[edit]

Israeli Channel 10 reporters built and tested a Liberator with a 9 mm cartridge, successfully hitting a target at a distance of several meters. On June 24, 2013, the reporters smuggled the gun (sans barrel and ammunition) into the Israeli house of parliament, coming within a short distance of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu.[15]

A Japanese man built five handguns using Liberator's data and possessed them on April 12, 2014, two of which are said to have enough power to kill. He posted movie clips of his using the guns on the Internet. The police arrested him for possession of weapons on May 8, 2014.[16] Cody Wilson, a founder of Defense Distributed, stated on the incident that the man "performed his work in the open, without suspicion, fear or dishonor."[17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "US government orders removal of Defcad 3D-gun designs". BBC News. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  2. ^ Biggs, John. "What You Need To Know About The Liberator 3D-Printed Pistol". TechCrunch. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  3. ^ Hutchinson, Lee. "The first entirely 3D-printed handgun is here". Ars Technica. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  4. ^ Greenberg, Andy. "3D-Printed Gun's Blueprints Downloaded 100,000 Times In Two Days (With Some Help From Kim Dotcom)". Forbes. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  5. ^ "Defiant Pirate Bay to continue hosting banned 3D printer gun designs". RT.com. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Ernesto. "Pirate Bay Takes Over Distribution of Censored 3D Printable Gun". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c Hagan, Ralph (1996). The Liberator Pistol. Target Sales. ISBN 978-0965449632. 
  8. ^ Melton, H. (1991). OSS Special Weapons & Equipment. Sterling Pub Co Inc. ISBN 978-0806982380. 
  9. ^ a b Greenberg, Andy. "Meet The 'Liberator': Test-Firing The World's First Fully 3D-Printed Gun". Forbes. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  10. ^ Slowik, Max. "3D Printing Community Updates Liberator with Rifle, Pepperbox and Glock-Powered ‘Shuty-9′". Guns.com. Retrieved 28 July 2013. 
  11. ^ Greenberg, Andy. "State Department Demands Takedown Of 3D-Printable Gun Files For Possible Export Control Violations". Forbes. Retrieved 13 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "V&A museum acquires first 3D-printed gun". dezeen. September 15, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  13. ^ "V&A museum to display printed gun". BBC Online. September 15, 2013. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  14. ^ Lee, Felicia (September 16, 2013). "3-D Printed Gun Goes on Display at London Museum". The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2013. 
  15. ^ תחקיר חדשות 10: אקדח יורה מטרים ספורים מראש הממשלה. Retrieved 2013-07-03. 
  16. ^ "Man busted for possessing handguns made with 3-D printer". Retrieved 2014-05-09. 
  17. ^ "WikiWep DevBlog". Retrieved 2014-05-09. 

External links[edit]