Friday, May 24, 2013

DHS fears 3D printed guns may be 'impossible' to stop or detect

The Department of Homeland Security bulletin warns that, now that the cat is out of the bag, it may be impossible to put back in. The bulletin, obtained by Fox News on Thursday, says that, now that a design has been released, it could be "impossible" to halt the manufacture of 3D-printed guns, as well as preventing any of them from getting past security checkpoints.

It's not something that has been missed by any reading the news about Defense Distributing's gun design. Although the U.S. government ordered the blueprints removed from DefDist's website, by then the plans had been downloaded over 100,000 times.

Despite their removal from DefDist's site, the plans are still available from other sources, such as The Pirate Bay and other BitTorrent sites. In addition, while DefDist's Liberator included metal so that the weapon meets the requirements of the Undetectable Firearms Act, there is nothing to prevent others from omitting that feature, making the gun undetectable by metal detectors.

The May 21 bulletin from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center and obtained by Fox News said:
Significant advances in three-dimensional (3D) printing capabilities, availability of free digital 3D printer files for firearms components, and difficulty regulating file sharing may present public safety risks from unqualified gun seekers who obtain or manufacture 3D printed guns. Limiting access may be impossible.

Magnetometers may fail to detect the Liberator, depending on device sensitivity. Though it is prohibited by federal law, manufacturers may deliberately omit the unnecessary metal insert, leaving only a small nail and ammunition as the sole metal component. Future designs could further reduce or eliminate metal entirely.

Unqualified gun seekers may be able to acquire or manufacture their own Liberators with no background checks.
A law enforcement official told Fox News:
This is a serious threat. These could defeat magnetometers. The only security procedure to catch [the 3D firearms] is a pat down. Is America ready for pat-downs at every event?
Even some free information mavens see 3D guns as a threat. Kim Dotcom, the infamous proponent of the freedom of information -- while apparently keeping the files on his Mega servers -- ordered the public links removed.

According to a statement by Kim Dotcom:
I think it’s a serious threat to the security of the community. I think it’s scary that people can print 3D guns that can’t even be detected by metal detectors. This should concern everybody.

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