Defense Distributed, an organization offering designs for guns that can be manufactured at home using increasingly cheap devices known as 3D printers, will likely start testing prototypes before the end of the year.
The Texas-based group, which has applied for nonprofit status and describes itself as "organized for charitable and literary purposes," has already created three designs for printable guns.
The plan is for everyday people to be able to download those schematics and then print their own gun using a 3D printer.
3D printers work in different ways, but the most common kinds apply layers of plastic resin to create a fully formed, three-dimensional object.
All the group needs is a federal firearms license, which its cofounder Cody Wilson expects to obtain within the next two or three weeks.
"We're sitting on the logistics, time, resources and money," Wilson told Alexander Hotz of The Guardian. "We're just waiting on a little piece of paper."
But it hasn't been an easy journey for the organization.
Back in September, Indiegogo, a fundraising website, froze the group's Wiki Weapon project and forced them to return the nearly $2,000 raised to the donors. But that didn't stop them from taking contributions.
The group secured the funding it needed by taking donations through Bitcoins, a digital currency. But it hit another snafu in October when 3D printing company Stratasys took back the 3D printer it had leased to Defense Distributed, citing the group's lack of a license to manufacture firearms.
But something doesn't sound right about that.
The whole point of 3D printing is that anyone can become a manufacturer.
So will everyone who downloads Defense Distributed's designs need to apply for a federal license?
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