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You will soon be able to print your own real gun at home, on a 3D printer

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A freakishly scary post in the New York Times says it won’t be long before you can print your own real gun on a 3D printer at home while your parents think you are playing on your computer.

It’s a fully-functional gun, like one publicized by BetaBeat this summer (we wrote about it too), which might not take any knowledge and skill to build. The story notes it won’t be long before a felon, unable to buy a gun legally, can print one at home by downloading a free schematic from the internet. You can then click on a button to build the gun on a 3D printer, which costs about $1,000 today and is rapidly falling to around $500.

As the story says, there are no background checks, no age limits, no serial numbers etched on the barrel or sales receipts to track the gun. Cody Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas, is building a completely functional printed gun that he hopes to upload in the next couple of months. He calls the gun the Wiki Weapon and runs a site called Defense Distributed.

A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said the agency was keeping a close watch on 3D printers. But it would be pretty hard to enforce a ban on printing guns in your home.