Homemade plastic gun successfully fired

FRESNO, Calif.

It's taken Cody Wilson months to make it work, but the weapon he calls "The Liberator" can now function like any other gun. The difference is, this one is made by a 3D computer printer using melted plastic like a regular printer uses ink.

People have made firearms by hand for 400 years, but this new technique could make it a lot easier. And American politicians are already pointing out how dangerous of a development it is.

The largely undetectable and potentially untraceable gun, as revealed in a picture in forbes.com, is "the world's first entirely 3D printed gun." It's the work of Cody Wilson and his non-profit, Texas-based organization Defense Distributed.

"You're going to make the whole gun?" a reporter asked Wilson.

"Oh yes that was always the goal," he said. "[It was] the entire goal from the beginning."

"Can you print a gun on a 3D printer? Can you do it?" A reporter asked.

Apparently he has, and he plans to release the blueprints for anyone to download, through his website, so anyone can create the gun using the rapidly growing technology of 3D printing. But this development is also unleashing growing security concerns.

"That criminals and terrorists will be able to make plastic guns, get them right through metal detectors because they're plastic and bring them onto planes to harm my constituents," said Rep. Steve Israel, (D) New York.

This semi-automatic rifle is being fired using at least one part that is also believed to be undetectable and untraceable.

Wilson, who has been named by Wired magazine as one of the "most dangerous people in the world", made this high capacity magazine and this lower receiver part for an AR-15 rifle. Both, he says, were made from plastic on a 3D printer.

"You could make these things already, and always could have, so this is just allowing you to make it easier," he said. "That makes some people nervous."

Newly developed 3D printers are a medical revelation, creating any number of objects from a variety of materials.

Wilson was a guest speaker at a recent exhibition in New York highlighting the amazing technology. But even those who heard his talk question his actions.

"I believe that you should have access regardless of the net effect on gun violence," Wilson said. "Because I think there's a liberty interest in being able to own these things."

Wilson's gun is made from 15 printable pieces of plastic plus a single non-printable part -- a nail used as a firing pin.

Defense Distributed added a six-ounce chunk of steel into the body to make it detectable by metal detectors in order to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act. Congressman Steve Israel says that act is set to expire at the end of the year.

"The very least we should do, as a matter of common sense, is extend the undetectable firearms act so that a plastic gun or component can't be brought onto planes because a metal detector can't detect them," he said.

Other lawmakers are joining that chorus.

"We need to make it stronger, better, and permanent," said Sen. Charles Schumer, (D) New York. "So today I'm announcing a campaign to pass the Undetected Firearms Act to sound the alarm against this new threat."

The cost is prohibitive for now. A 3D printer costs thousands of dollars. But Sen. Charles Schumer says if money is no object, the door is now open to essentially start a garage gun factory, creating deadly and undetectable weapons.

Copyright © 2021 KFSN-TV. All Rights Reserved.