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US govt blocks 3D-printed gun downloads

US government blocks downloads of 3D-printed gun

News: blueprints for the world's first 3D-printed gun have been taken offline at the request of the US government.

Defense Distributed, the Texas-based group that developed the weapon, stated on Twitter that its project to make a downloadable and printable gun had "gone dark".

The State Department's order to remove the files comes just a few days after the successful test firing of the pistol, called the Liberator.

The group's file-sharing website Defcad is now headed with a red banner that 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."

Cody Wilson, the 25-year-old law student who leads Defense Distributed, said he complied with the State Department's request immediately.

"But this is a much bigger deal than guns. It has implications for the freedom of the web," he told technology website Betabeat.

According to Defense Distributed, blueprints for the gun were downloaded over 100,000 times in the two days after they were uploaded to Defcad.

However, the decision to remove the files represents a U-turn on the group's earlier promise, made in a video announcing the launch of Defcad in March, that there would be "no takedowns, ever".

The group has been working towards creating a 3D-printed gun for almost a year after raising $20,000 of funding for the "Wiki Weapon" open source project.

Defcad was launched this March as "the world's first unblockable, open-source search engine for all 3D-printable parts", such as components for rifles, pistols and grenades.

Dezeen investigated how 3D printing is changing weaponry and warfare in Print Shift, our one-off publication about 3D printing – see all news about 3D printing.