3D plastic gun blueprints downloaded more than 100K times

Plastic gun manufactured by 3D printer test-fired in Austin this month

HOUSTON - Fearing mass production of a plastic gun undetectable to metal detectors and uncontrolled by current gun laws, the U.S. Department of Defense ordered its blueprints removed from the Internet.

But not before they were downloaded more than 100,000 times.

The plastic gun manufactured by a 3D printer was reportedly test-fired in Austin earlier this month.

"It doesn't seem like a very safe way to fire a projectile," 3D printing expert Richard Coleman said of the controversial weapon.

Coleman, president of the local model making company Coleman & Associates, said despite all the downloads, he doesn't see these 3D printers turning into gun factories.

"The problem with these databases is they have to be totally water tight in order to 3D print," said Coleman. "It is not that easy."

Coleman added that even if people decide to shell out thousands on a printer capable of manufacturing these weapons, there are other factors that should dissuade amateur gun makers.

"That gun powder blast is hot enough to melt that plastic," Coleman said. "If people start getting hurt trying to fire these things, I think it'll wear off very quickly when people realize how dangerous these things really are."

A ban on plastic guns, in existence since 1988, is set to expire at the end of the year. However, if passed by Congress, newly introduced legislation would renew that ban.

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