After 100,000+ Downloads, Group With 3-D Gun Plans Goes Dark : The Two-Way Defense Distributed put its gun-making blueprint on the Web for downloading. It says it's been asked by the government to stop doing that. But with more than 100,000 copies already distributed, it would seem the recipe is out there.
NPR logo After 100,000+ Downloads, Group With 3-D Gun Plans Goes Dark

After 100,000+ Downloads, Group With 3-D Gun Plans Goes Dark

The Liberator — a plastic handgun made with a 3-D printer. Defense Distributed hide caption

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Defense Distributed

Minutes ago, just as we were reading a Forbes story headlined "3D-Printed Gun's Blueprints Downloaded 100,000 Times In Two Days," this message appeared on the Twitter page of the group that has made those plans available to the world:

"#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State."

The 3-D printed gun, as we've reported, has been successfully test-fired by Texas-based Defense Distributed. The thought of spreading the know-how to have a 3-D printer produce a firearm is unsettling to some, who worry about the technology getting into the wrong hands, but is liberating to others, who say that Americans should be able to build their own handguns that way (provided they can afford an $8,000 3-D printer).

After more than 100,000 downloads of the plans, of course, going "dark" at the request of the government (suspending such downloads) would seem to be closing the virtual barn long after many, many horses have gotten out.

We'll keep an eye out for what happens next.