Policy & Law
Defense Distributed, a group dedicated to making viable 3D printed firearms, has enjoyed increasing publicity during the recent debates over gun control. Now, it's directly addressing efforts to ban one of the most frequently criticized components: rifle magazines holding over ten rounds, often referred to as "high-capacity" magazines, like those used at the attack in Newtown, CT. In a video posted yesterday, the group demonstrated shooting from a 30-round AR-15 magazine made with a 3D printer, saying it shot a total of 85 rounds. While the printed plastic melted slightly, the group promised it should work "well past 100 rounds;" designs have been posted on 3D printed weapons site DefCad.
Making the currently posted magazine requires sanding the model down and assembling it, not just printing, and it's unlikely most people would print rather than buy at this point. What this is, however, is proof that prohibiting high-capacity magazines (based on the definition established by a now-expired US assault weapons ban) can't stop them from being made — 30 rounds isn't necessarily the maximum size magazine that can be printed, either.
Defense Distributed and other weapons printers often print guns with a general political agenda, but in this case, the group openly taunts pro-gun control Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and other "prohibitionists," posting a page full of renders to drive home the ease of printing them. While a full 3D printed gun is some time away, and 3D printing in general is still a pretty niche pursuit, the group has raised a point that's dangerous to ignore in the long run.
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