Defense Distributed, the company who last week used a 3D printer to print the first completely printed gun, with the exception of the metal firing pin, and used the weapon to fire a .380 caliber round successfully has had their 3D gun plans taken over by the US government.
Defense Distributed has also made a 3D printed AR-15 lower which was used to fire hundreds of rounds of .223 ammo successfully using a standard AR-15 upper receiver and parts kit.
According to DEFCAD.org, the website where the company distributed their 3D printer plans has been taken over by the US government.
A large red banner across the top of the website reads: DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.
It is unclear if the US government actually seized control of the website or if Defense Distributed is simply removing files to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.
Other media reports say that the issue is in regards to possible weapons import/export laws since they downloadable gun plans are available worldwide.
The letter, issued by the US Department of State, says:
“DTCC/END is conducting a review of technical data made publicly available by Defense Distributed through its 3D printing website, DEFCAD.org, the majority of which appear to be related to items in Category I of the USML. Defense Distributed may have released ITAR-controlled technical data without required prior authorization from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), a violation of the ITAR.”
USML stands for United States Munitions List, and ITAR stands for the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
According to the letter, “Pursuant to § 127.1 of the ITAR it is unlawful to export any defense article or technical data for which a license or written approval is required without first obtaining the required authorization from the DTCC. Please note that disclosing (including oral or visual disclosure) or transferring technical data to a foreign person, whether in the United States or abroad, is considered an export under § 120.17 of the ITAR.”
Further in the letter, it lists the 3D printable gun files available through DEFCAD.org that the DTCC says violate the ITAR.
“The Department believes Defense Distributed may not have established the proper jurisdiction of the subject technical data. To resolve this matter officially, we request that Defense Distributed submit Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) determination requests for the following selection of data files available on DEFCAD.org, and any other technical data for which Defense Distributed is unable to determine proper jurisdiction:
1. Defense Distributed Liberator pistol
2. .22 el3ectric
3. 125mm BK-14M high-explosive anti-tank warhead
4. 5.56/.223 muzzle brake
5. Springfield XD-40 tactical slide assembly
6. Sound Moderator – slip on
7. “The Dirty Diane” ½-28 to 3/4-16 STP S3600 oil filter silencer adapter
8. 12 gauge .22 CB sub-caliber insert
9. Voltlock electronic black powder system
10. VZ-58 front sight”
The letter goes on, “Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final CJ determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data should be removed from public access immediately. Defense Distributed should also review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any additional data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.”
Defense Distributed recently garnered major attention after they were able to produce a complete firearm, titled the Liberator, solely using 3D printed parts. Data for the Liberator files have reportedly already been downloaded over 100,000 times.
It’s clear that it was this milestone that inspired the Department of State to pursue compliance orders.
The mandate is in line with the United Nations International Arms Control Treaty which has attempted to regulate firearms by exploiting import-export laws. According to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, the UN’s Small Arms Treaty “is in fact a massive, GLOBAL gun control scheme.”