A Gun You Can Print at Home

Friday, November 02, 2012


Cody Wilson, who leads Defense Distributed, is working on an open-source schematic that will let people print out a plastic pistol at home using a 3D-printer. Wilson talks to Bob about his project, and explains why he's not worried the guns will fall into the wrong hands.


Cody Wilson

Hosted by:

Brooke Gladstone

Comments [20]

Sean K

re: Weapons-grade anthrax question. To add: There is no way of knowing the potential future benefit of somethiing currently categorizable as having "no beneficial/consumer use".

May. 09 2013 04:51 PM
Steven Jarris

Living below the line with the printing near Vancouver. Thanks for sharing this information. Keep up the great ideas. I appreciate it!

Feb. 14 2013 11:33 AM
3d4g from usa

It is legal to make a simple unserialized gun for personal use already. What's the big deal? You can go down to your local drug store and buy something ready to shoot out of the box. Something like this takes the knowledge of gunsmithing to complete a project, or you would severely hurt yourself. You can not compare a weapon of mass destruction to an incomplete parts kit that could become a gun. No laws needed, just additional space on the Darwin Awards list for any dumb crimanal that spends $16,000 on a printer instead of buying something at a yard sale.

Nov. 21 2012 01:42 PM

Oh, noooo! Not the Plastic Gun hysteria again! Well, I suppose that it was only a matter of time this particular hobgoblin made the rounds again, since it hasn't appeared since Glock pistols were introduced here in 1984.

I know it's hopeless, but try to remember that gun barrels are made of forged steel. Cast metal is used only for bells, toys and ornaments. To make something strong enough to withstand an explosive force such as produced by the detonation of ammunition, you need forged steel. To forge steel, a white-hot steel ingot is pounded by tremendous weight to force the gas bubbles out.

Therefore, to make a real gun, not a toy replica, on your 3-D printer, you'd need molten steel and a forge, then a drill to drill out the barrel, and further machining to create the rifling.

Cody Wilson is the type of person known on the Internet as a Troll. He starts arguments from absurd positions, then laughs as people make fools of themselves trying to prove him wrong.

He knows there's no such thing as a plastic gun. He's merely trying to make fools of the softie liberals and create panic. Because of the gullibility of Bob Garfield and his neglect to research the matter, Wilson has succeeded.

This segment is certainly making the rounds among Libertarian and gun culture circles, as they laugh at what fools liberals are.

A new low for OTM.

Nov. 05 2012 05:12 PM

This man is the perfect example of the sublimation of a murderous antisocial personality disorder. Torn between right and wrong he finds proxies to conduct his murderous rage.

Nov. 05 2012 09:05 AM
Greg Slater


What about a printable thermonuclear device? We must allow people to disintermediate their access to nuclear weapons. I think we can all agree that no one should be a consequentialist when it comes to personal WMDs.

He said there was a good chance 'some frustrated progressive' will shoot him.
When was the last time a Progressive shot anyone? All the murderous crazies are on the right. carrying their guns around like prosthetic p-----s. Far more likely he'll get killed in a drunken argument with another right wing nut, or by a member of his plastic gun-toting family, perhaps one of his children. There's about billion billion cool things you can make with a 3-d printer, and the only thing that this poor schnook can think of is to make a gun... pitiful little creature...

Anyway... excuse me but I've got to go shout 'fire' in a crowded theater to disintermediate myself from insanity...

Nov. 05 2012 02:26 AM

Really! There is no such thing as a all plastic gun. The plastic barrel would blow up using a live round. No metal springs or screws to assemble the gun would also be a problem. Time to call Mythbusters

Nov. 04 2012 08:57 PM
Andrew M from Santa Rosa, CA

Good show today on all of your segments. I only wished you had been more tough on Cody Wilson, and less glib on a serious subject. Maybe Mr. Garfield thought Wilson was such a loon that Garfield didn't take him seriously, I don't know. Wilson is a dangerous, callous, selfish idiot. I'm not too worried about his invention as I'm sure the FBI will be very interested in it if he ever succeeds. I'm sure Cody will be lawyered up with the NRA on his side, but I have no doubt the FBI will succeed in shutting this thing down if it ever becomes a reality. At this point, the FBI is probably just laughing at this lunatic for now. Cody Wilson represents everything bad in a human being, and what an idiot he is to say someone will shoot him and that's ok.

Nov. 04 2012 07:16 PM
Helen Haug from Bay

This is so liberating! I propose a cannibal cookbook website collecting ideas and possible recipes for all the different modes of preparations that can be imagined for making human parts not just edible, but succulent. Just to spark the imagination, think how Cody Wilson ribs might taste--or smoked hams, chicken fried arms, braised shanks, stuffed heart, tenderloins, bacon, ground meat loafs and slow-cooked meatballs, aged salami--tripes, even. Might fingers and toes be comparable to buffalo wings? How about dog food? Even if you didn't want to eat him yourself, how long could a Cody Wilson feed your pet--weeks? months? Now that we are so close to being able to harvest a Cody Wilson, for example, with a plastic gun, can a road kill- or wild game-type cookbook be that far behind? Why hold back? The idea is probably already out there and I could be the one to take credit for it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the inspiration!

Nov. 04 2012 07:09 PM
Skip_D from Central Arkansas

Anyone who believes in unfettered "freedom" - that somehow people have the right to do anything they can imagine - and that the risk that an action might cause something dangerous doesn't justify preemptively limiting that action - listen to this, and see how unabashedly crazy such boundless libertarianism can be! Thanks, Bob, for such a reasonable interview - IMO, you gave him all the rope he needed to self-dangle!

Nov. 04 2012 07:04 PM
MissTee from Tennessee

I wish that this guy would drop the libertarian BS and just admit he's an anarchist.

Also, the 2nd Amendment gives the right to bear arms. It does not give the right to manufacture arms. If the Founding Fathers had wanted that, they would have put it in the amendment.

What a creep.

Nov. 04 2012 06:21 PM
bubbak from Seattle, WA

Is it just me or does anyone else find it sadistic that another human being would laugh at the death of another human being? Mr. Wilson let out a small chuckle when he heard about the inventor of the Segway falling off a cliff. Regardless of the irony of it all, someone who is a friend/son/father/husband died.

Even as faulty as Mr. Wilsons thinking is he is obviously has an entrepreneurial spirit which Americans embrace, but this does absolutely no good for humanity. Please take that brain of yours and put it towards a better cause than the proliferation of deadly weapons. Just because you CAN does not mean you SHOULD.

@ DAN if you listen to Bob Garfield his tone says "is this guy serious" and as mentioned above "Kudos to Mr. Garfield for letting Mr. Wilson hang himself with his own rope." Its clear by Mr. Wilsons tone that he understands what he is doing is greasy.

Nov. 04 2012 05:10 PM

Interesting that Mr. Wilson is a law student. Too bad he's not studying medicine. Maybe he would have been forced to examine the precept (which should apply to pretty much everything), "First, do no harm."

Nov. 04 2012 03:12 PM

Very flawed thinking! And, "terrorists are people too" !!! Very flawed thinking.

Nov. 04 2012 02:59 PM
Mike M from Pittsburgh, PA

I'm not a Constitutional scholar, but I'm pretty sure that, as far as Supreme Court rulings are concerned, there are no absolute rights guaranteed by the constitution, including the rights to free speech and to bear arms. And with good reason.

I'm sure there are many more sophisticated ways of supporting and expressing the arguments against his position, but I think they all more or less boil down to "Just because you can doesn't mean you should." Mr. Wilson seems to lack this basic understanding, so ultimately seems silly but unfortunately not inconsequential.

Kudos to Mr. Garfield for letting Mr. Wilson hang himself with his own rope.

Nov. 04 2012 01:13 PM

Printing a gun at home is not a real issue because you can already make guns at home. The parts are easily available, as are, of course, fully functional, assembled guns, and all the ammunition you can cram into your house, or even your warehouse. The bizarre thing about the interview was the doctrinaire assertion that creation and possession of dangerous items should never be regulated. I think first of Rocky Flats, the nuclear weapons plant that operated for forty years near Denver. It was run by "experts" and still managed to contaminate thousands of acres of land and cause an uncountable number of illnesses and deaths--uncountable because it's generally impossible to definitively link a specific illness with diffuse exposure. This gentleman's argument implies that any yahoo should be able to build his very own Rocky Flats with no regulation. (Some people of dubious sanity have enough money to do it.) Only after he's killed tens of thousands of his neighbors--which is such a case would include people hundreds of miles downwind--should he be prosecuted. I guess a fine would be appropriate.

Nov. 04 2012 12:21 PM
Daniel Bennett from Washington, DC

I think that the problem with the interview was that the previous segment's interview with the more knowledgeable David Cay Johnston did not influence this segment. In the previous segment, DCJ talked about teaching business students the actual history of business and regulation which some economists/ideologists seem to be unaware. Like this individual, there is critical lack of reasoning due to the lack of understanding of how things actually work. Most regulation has been created to enhance the market place. Safety and efficiency regulations are to make markets work better as well as protect people. But there are many other regulations too that allow for the possibility of property, for example, without patents, copyright and trademarks, there would be no intellectual property. Without regulation of land, deeds, zoning, mineral rights, etc, there would be no real market for land. Without the FDIC, SEC, Treasury regulations there would be no real financial markets (throughout history, it is the regulatory authorities that allowed something beyond bartering and warfare.

Ahistorical and amoral arguments are fun at bars, but have little bearing on how things actually work. And so this interview was engaging on that level, scary on a realization that ideologies can warp some people's to the point that weapons are not things to be worried about. As pilots are endangered by kids with lasers today, we have a need to true liberty depends on common defense as is recognized in the preamble to our constitution.

Nov. 04 2012 07:54 AM
James Easterly from Merrifield, Northern Virginia

Superb interview. I have never heard the Libertarian mindset, philosophy and general outlook on the role of government rationally articulated by anyone as well as by Mr. Cody in response to the probing questions by your interviewer, who relentlessly challenged Mr Cody to justify his arguments against the prevailing liberal view that it is government's responsibility to regulate and police the manufacture, marketing and use of virtually all products in the interest of public health and safety. Those who would silence such civil and well reasoned proposals as advanced by Mr. Cody pose a chilling threat to our First Amendment freedoms and evoke an Orwellian specter of suffocating, Big Brother Government control of our ideas and actions on the pretext of protecting us from cradle to grave. I have never considered myself to be a Libertarian, but I must admit that Mr. Cody acquitted himself well in offering reasonable and compelling defenses of his proposals.

Nov. 03 2012 11:30 PM

Cody Wilson's understanding of "Liberty" is about as deep and sophistocated as a 3-year-old mindlessly howling "You can't make me." Though in his case he's mindlessly howling "You can't stop me."

Please stop giving free publicity to people who have nothing worthwhile to say.

Nov. 03 2012 07:49 PM

I am extremely disappointed --appalled-- that the interviewer didn't challenge this idiot advocating for printing guns about the most obvious serious problem --not about terrorists, who can be supplied with far deadlier weapons well enough-- : thousands of young kids (mostly male) printing of play toys that shoot real bullets! Yes, the young, who are so well-versed & -adapted to using computers, et cetera : wow, right in their home (or a friend's) they can build an arsenal. All under the silly right to be free of this idiot libertarian who so disdains "the nanny state"! You really blew the interview on this --more of a "fair & balanced" Fox News sort of softballing.

Nov. 03 2012 10:02 AM

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