Media Falsely Reports Man Used 3-D Printer to ‘Print’ His own ‘Assault Rifle’?

August 1, 2012 | Filed Under 2nd Amendment, Anti-Americanism, Constitution, Democrats/Leftists, Ethics, Guns, Journalism, Liberals, Media, Media Bias, Science, Warner Todd Huston | 1 Comment

-By Warner Todd Huston

A few days ago the Interwebs went all a twitter over a guy that reporters claimed “printed” his own “fully functional assault rifle” using a 3-D printer that “prints” in plastic. But few of these reports came anywhere near getting the facts straight on this story. The fact is he “printed” only a small part of the gun. He did not “print” a “fully functional rifle” as many reports suggested.

There was “printing” going on, certainly. But the only part of the gun — an AR-15 — that was fabricated using the 3-D printer was a part that did not have to withstand the explosions of the cartridge going off, nor was it a part that hasn’t been made of plastic in other guns already. The chamber was not fabricated, the barrel was not fabricated, the bolt wasn’t, and the firing pin wasn’t. In fact, none of the most important working parts were created using the 3-D printer.

So, what was “printed” by the machine? Only the lower receiver. If you don’t know what that is, think of it as the seat or skeleton upon which all the working parts of the gun sit. It is also the part to which the stock and handle are attached. So the only part this guy created was the lower receiver to which he affixed the rest of a real AR-15’s parts.

Now, the science of the matter is that no “assault weapon” could be made entirely of the plastic from a 3D printer. The barrel such an all-plastic rifle could never withstand the firing of the cartridge and neither would the chamber. Also no “printed” plastic could be hard enough to create the firing pin that fires the cartridge. It’s just impossible at this time to create a “fully functional assault weapon” using a plastic printing machine. And if such a weapon were to be created it would be lucky to fire a cartridge or two before cracking apart from the stress of the exploding cartridges — very dangerous for the shooter, I’d say.

Unfortunately, many of the so-called “news” reports of this story claimed that the hobbyist created an entire gun. Some noted it was only the lower receiver, of course, but none of them put this all in context to give the fabrication of the part any meaning. Readers were left imagining that some guy used a plastic fabricating printer to make an entire gun raising fears that anyone could do this and societal danger would ensue.

The most shrill was the piece at Forbes.

For Forbes Writer Mark Gibbs absurdly imagined that being able to “print” your own gun would spawn any number of copies of the Colorado theater shooting. Gibbs admitted he’s in favor of ending our Second Amendment rights, so I suppose it isn’t surprising that he went over the edge imagining that anyone can “print” a gun quite despite the technological impossibility and science of it all. His entire article was a sky-is-falling laugher.

But Forbes wasn’t the only one.

While Forbes at least noted only the lower receiver was made, Australia’s Courier Mail mistakenly reported that a “A FULLY operational pistol and assault rifle have been ‘printed’ from plans posted on the Internet.” (Yes, they put “fully” in all caps) also had a piece, theirs misleadingly headlined, “A Working Assault Rifle Made With a 3-D Printer.” The site went on to claim that the hobbyist had “successfully printed a serviceable .22 caliber pistol.” (Sadly, National Review fell for this hogwash, too)

Another one of the more absurd treatments was from where we see a fabulist sort of piece falsely claiming that “ordinary U.S. citizens” could now make “military-grade pistols or assault rifles” by “printing” them.

Of course, Huffington Post had a story on this “gun printing” business, too.

All these outlets were alarmist especially considering that quite a few guns are using lightweight and plastic parts already. Cavalry Arms, for instance, manufactures its own AR-15-styled weapon with a plastic lower stock and receiver right now.

But the truth is a “fully functional assault rifle” cannot be fabricated using a 3-D printer. It just can’t. Sadly, every one of these “news” pieces misled its readers into thinking just such a creation was possible.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

For a full bio, please CLICK HERE.

Leave a Comment

If you would like to make a comment, please register to do so. I hate to do that but there are so many spam-bots out there that deleting spam comments would be a full time job if I were to just open it up for anyone without asking them to jump through a few hoops first.

You must be registered and logged in to post a comment. Anyone can register. No registrant's information is kept, used, or sold. CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Social Networking

Help the Soldiers!

American Genius

Our Founding Ideas

"Governments are instituted among men,deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed." Declaration of Independence July 4, 1776

Enter your Email

Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a reader

Recently Written

  • Calif. Court Makes Wearing American Flag to School a Crime
  • Food Stamp Sign-ups in Obama’s Illinois Larger Than State’s Job Growth
  • A Growing Number of Teen Girls in West Volunteering for Islamist Terror Group ISIS
  • Populist Hillary To Award Clinton Foundation Honors to Leo DiCaprio at Gala
  • Still a Slavish Flack: Carney Blames TV Networks for Fewer Obama Speeches
  • Chicago’s Emanuel May Find His Millions Won’t Save His Re-Election
  • [VIDEO] Hotonomics: Big Gov’t Vs Small Govt Knockout
  • Illinois Worst Again With Highest Home Foreclosure Rate in Nation
  • Illinois Website Beats Attempt to Silence its News Coverage
  • Ted Cruz Does Right–Walks Out on Mid Eastern Scumbags Claiming to be Christians

  • What THEY Say:
    Foreign News In English

    Click HERE for information
    on my fedora collection.
    Antique Stetsons, hat history...

    Contact Us

    Email Publius' Forum


  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • October 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • November 2010
  • October 2010
  • September 2010
  • August 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010
  • March 2010
  • February 2010
  • January 2010
  • December 2009
  • November 2009
  • October 2009
  • September 2009
  • August 2009
  • July 2009
  • June 2009
  • May 2009
  • April 2009
  • March 2009
  • February 2009
  • January 2009
  • December 2008
  • November 2008
  • October 2008
  • September 2008
  • August 2008
  • July 2008
  • June 2008
  • May 2008
  • April 2008
  • March 2008
  • February 2008
  • January 2008
  • December 2007
  • November 2007
  • October 2007
  • September 2007
  • August 2007
  • July 2007
  • June 2007
  • May 2007
  • April 2007
  • March 2007
  • February 2007
  • January 2007
  • December 2006
  • January 2006
  • December 2005
  • November 2005
  • October 2005
  • September 2005
  • August 2005
  • July 2005
  • June 2005
  • May 2005
  • April 2005
  • March 2005
  • February 2005
  • January 2005

  • Add to Technorati Favorites

    Clicky Web Analytics