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Fears after 3D printer is used to produce gun

BY TIM WALKER in Los Angeles

Gun control activists have expressed alarm after the world's first firearm made entirely with 3D printer technology was successfully fired, and the blueprint used to make it was made available online to download for free.

A group described as the “Pirate Bay of 3D Printing” successfully fired the firearm in Texas on Saturday. Defense Distributed, which spent a year designing the handgun, dubbed Liberator, built it from plastic on a 3D printer bought on eBay for $8,000 (£5,140).

The computer-aided design file, or CAD, containing Liberator's blueprint has been made available by Defense Distributed to download for free — it will allow anyone with a 3D printer to create their own “Wiki weapon”.

Physical copies of the Liberator, created using the blueprint, would be untraceable: no serial number, no sales receipt.

Gun control activists fear they could all too easily fall into the wrong hands. Victoria Baines, from Europol's cybercrime centre, said: “As this technology becomes more user friendly and more cost effective, it is possible some risks will emerge.”

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