AUSTIN, Texas — The U.S. State Department is defending its decision to censor a website that offered a blueprints on how to print a working, three-dimensional pistol that anyone could make with a plastic 3D printer.
U.S. officials said the blueprints could affect national security.
The plans were posted online this week at the Defense Distributed website. The website claimed its administrators successfully test fired the gun known as the “Liberator.”
The gun looks like a water pistol, but uses a .380-caliber bullet. A nail was used as the firing pin for the weapon.
The group complied with the government’s request and took down the blueprints, but said it may repost them later.
The website is funded by a non-profit group founded by University of Texas law student Cody Wilson.
Wilson says the Liberator project was intended to highlight how technology can render laws and governments all but irrelevant.
The instructions to make the gun were downloaded 100,000 times.
Weapons like the Liberator are potentially undetectible at security screenings at airports. This has made them a target of some lawmakers like New York Rep. Rep. Steve Israel (D).
“Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser,” Israel said in a statement. “When I started talking about the issue of plastic firearms months ago, I was told the idea of a plastic gun is science fiction. Now that this technology appears to be upon us, we need to act
now to extend the ban on plastic firearms.”