Defense Distributed is an open source organization that develops designs for weapons that can be downloaded from internet and 3D printed. Defense Distributed developed a fully functional gun called the Liberator. On May 5, 2013, Defense Distributed made the 3D printable files of the Liberator publicly available. Few days later, the United States Department of State cited a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and asked Defense Distributed to remove the files from the internet. On May 6, 2015, Defense Distributed sued the Department of State for violating its constitutional rights. The case is currently on appeal.
The ability to 3D print weapons raises important practical as well as moral challenges. On one hand, the Second Amendment of the Constitution states that “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.” On the other hand the ability to download and 3D print weapons raises the issue of weapons easily falling in the wrong hands. The final outcome of the case remains to be seen.