The Liberator (Michael Thad Carter/Forbes)
Blueprints for what's being called the world's first 3-D printed handgun have been downloaded more than 100,000 times since the controversial files were published online earlier this week, developers say.
Defense Distributed, the company that produced the schematics, told Forbes that CAD files for the so-called "Liberator" hit the six-figure download mark within two days, with most of the downloads in the United States. Users in Spain, Brazil, Germany and the U.K. have downloaded the files, too.
"This has definitely been our most well-received download,” Haroon Khalid, a Defense Distributed developer, told the magazine. “I don’t think any of us predicted it would be this much.”
The company uploaded the files to Mega, the free New Zealand-based file-sharing website, where users are able to access them via a link from Defcad.org.
Cody Wilson, Defense Distributed's 25-year-old founder, announced plans to create the world's first entirely printable handgun last year. In March, the company obtained a federal license as a gun manufacturer.
Before the files were released, lawmakers expressed concerned that anyone with a 3-D printer and an Internet connection would be able to print an untraceable arsenal. New York Rep. Steve Israel called for a renewal of the Undetectable Firearms Act, and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer called use of the technology “stomach-churning.”
“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," Israel said.
“This gun can fire regular bullets,” Schumer said. “Now anyone, a terrorist, someone who is mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon, can essentially open a gun factory in their garage. It must be stopped.”
"The Wiki Weapon project," as it's described on Defense Distributed's website, is "a nonprofit effort to create freely available plans for 3D printable guns."
Late Thursday, Wilson told Forbes that the U.S. State Department had contacted the company demanding that the files be taken down over possible "export control violations." Wilson said the company would comply, but the government may be too late. On Friday, copies of the blueprints were also available on Pirate Bay.