Defense Distributed, the Austin, Texas-based project by 24-year-old law student Cody Wilson and several others to develop 3D printed firearms and firearm components, or “Wiki Weapons,” on Thursday posted a new video online showing a successful test firing of a new 3D printed high-capacity (30-round) automatic rifle (AR) magazine, named “Cuomo,” after New York State’s gun-control supporting governor Andrew Cuomo.
New York recently passed a law banning all magazines in excess of 7 rounds (except for law enforcement use), the nation’s toughest magazine regulation.
“He [Cuomo] wants to be associated with these magazines,” Wilson told TPM, reached by phone on Thursday. “Lets make that association permanent.”
Check out Defense Distributed’s new video of the Cuomo magazine being test fired below:
In total, Defense Distributed fired 342 rounds using the new 3D printed 30-round magazine — 115 in semi-auto and 227 in full auto mode, Wilson said.
The video isn’t the first time Defense Distributed has shown off a working 3D printed high-capacity magazine. In mid January, the group published a video showing one such 3D printed mag being fired, but it scrapped that design and started from scratch on the Cuomo because the previous mag was based on a design that had circulated online before and was “just not a good build,” in Wilson’s words. Check out that video below:
Wilson said the goal of the new “Cuomo” 3D printed magazine was to offer the “Linux kernel” equivalent of an open source, printable magazine to the wider Web community.
“We think everything going forward could be a ‘Cuomo’ [magazine] mod,” Wilson told TPM.
Attaching New York Governor Cuomo’s name to the project is part of Defense Distributed’s overall critique and assessment of gun control efforts made by politicians often protected by armed guards themselves.
“Guys like Cuomo are in a bubble,” Wilson told TPM. “Politicians, big Wall Street traders, they have armed guards. So New York passes a law banning high-capacity magazines and Cuomo says: ‘ok, New York is safe.’ But he should back down from the hyperbole. Not only can it [high-capacity magazine manufacturing] not be regulated, but it’s about to be exploded open right now.”
Defense Distributed hasn’t yet released the 3D printer files of its Cuomo mag online, but plans to do so over the weekend, Wilson said. The group is also working on a 40-round AK magazine design it plans to test and release soon.
Already, however, previous Defense Distributed magazine and weapon component build files have been downloaded in excess of 100,000 times, Wilson told TPM.
He’s only personally aware of a handful of people who have used them to print and test-fire AR magazines, but said that “many people are downloading the files from all over the world, Russia to Spain,” and simply holding on to them for later potential usage in homemade weapons manufacturing.
Like many other 3D printer designs, Defense Distributed’s Wiki Weapon files are Computer-aided designs (CAD).
Many of the files are hosted on Defcad, a website Defense Distributed set up after 3D printer company Makerbot in late 2012 began strictly enforcing its ban on 3D printer files of firearms and firearm component plans in its Thingverse online file sharing hub. Defense Distributed’s design files are also available on the Pirate Bay and will soon be available on Github.
“Our idea is to facilitate a community around what we’re doing,” Wilson said. “Defense Distributed is just about proving concepts and releasing snippets of basic information so others can learn. I think we’re a software organization, primarily.”
That organization consists of about 6 core members at any given time, though it fluctuates and is as high as 18 occasionally, because many key participants have other jobs.
Wilson believes Defense Distributed is in full compliance of Texas and federal law with its 3D printer files and firearm tests.
But it has run into trouble from other private actors. Aside from Makerbot’s refusal to host weapons files on its file hub, 3D printer company Stratasys in October 2012 actually seized the printer Defense Distributed was leasing from it. The group has since purchased another Stratasys Dimension series machine and other equipment outright, and Wilson said that they planned to put together a full, continually updated PDF file of their own setup for the community on their website, which has been clamoring for those details.
Wilson is currently in London, UK working with “Occupy London” protesters, as well as on a software client for the Bitcoin digital crypto-currency, another of his side projects.
Check out a recent video interview of Wilson by Glenn Beck here.
Carl Franzen is TPM Idea Lab’s tech reporter. He used to work for The Daily, AOL and The Atlantic Wire (though not simultaneously, thankfully). He’s never met a button that didn’t need to be pressed. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.