Big Tech Moves to De-Platform 3D Printer Gun Groups… Again

A 3D printed gun posted by a user on Deterrence Dispensed.

Online forums that share 3D printed gun files haven’t been exempt from the crackdown by Big Tech on gun-related groups, websites, and organizations.

Keybase, which is owned by video conferencing company Zoom, recently vowed to the anti-gun outlet The Trace that it will begin enforcing its policy against content that empowers users to print gun parts on 3D printers.

“We have informed [3D-printed gun groups] that we will discontinue hosting them in the coming days,” a spokesperson for Keybase told The Trace.

This is the second time these groups have been forced to move platforms. Back in 2019, Big Tech giants like Google, Twitter, and Reddit banned 3D printed gun files, so users moved to the encrypted platform, Keybase. But since Zoom acquired Keybase last summer, the chat and file-sharing company has been cracking down.

One of the largest groups, Deterrence Dispensed, boasted 27,000 members in January before shutting down their page and migrating to a new self-hosted chat server using the open-source software Rocketcat.

“We suspected this was coming after Zoom acquired Keybase,” user and one of the unofficial group leaders, ivanthetroll, wrote in the team’s primary chat channel on January 15. “It’s best we moved off a platform that we don’t host ourselves anyway — the coastal liberals who run zoom (sic) would take great pleasure at banning us without warning at Joe [Biden]’s request.”

SEE ALSO: Check out the Liberator12k Project, a 3D-Printer Augmented Revolving-Cylinder Shotgun

But Ivan remains confident that their group will continue to operate on their new website. He told GunsAmerica via email that the group lost many inactive users in the move, but they gained more active users than they had before.

“It’s virtue signaling without any real effect,” he said of Keybase’s decision to ban 3D gun content. “Progress hasn’t stopped, we got to move to a platform that is easier to use and less buggy, and everyone has adjusted well.”

Ivan also took issue with The Trace’s contention that the group relied on Keybase to share files.

“The Trace is so poor in their research of this topic… when they suggest that we used Keybase as a primary means of sharing files, or that KBFS [Keybase File System] was fundamental to our operation,” he told us. “That suggestion is just wrong. We could have been using Discord this whole time and it would have work — KBFS was convenient, but hardly essential or even an important structure.”

Ultimately, Ivan hopes that the 3D printed gun movement will encourage politicians to shift from supply-side gun control to a stricter enforcement of gun-related crime.

“It’d be nice to see politics adjust to this reality by framing gun control as a question of strict punishment of harmful acts and a release of supply-side restrictions, but I’m sure that wouldn’t sell as well as a relentless attack on the rights of good people of this country,” he said.

Deterrence Dispensed’s website features a how-go guide for 3D printer beginners, a cache of 3D printer files, and a chat room with about 5,800 members. They host files on LBRY, a blockchain-based file hosting protocol that has so far refused to moderate content.

SEE ALSO: $12 Instructions for 3D-Printed Firearms have Anti-gunners Sweating

In most states and at the federal level, it is legal to 3D print firearms at home. California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Washington have enacted laws outlawing or otherwise restricting homemade firearms. New York and New Jersey, for example, have outlawed the possession of unregistered “assault weapons,” so manufacturing a firearm that adheres to those characteristics may result in prosecution.

But rather than go after the firearms themselves, most states and anti-gun government entities have focused on the distribution of the files necessary to 3D print guns.

Defense Distributed is the best-known company in this space, and they won a case in 2018 against the State Department, which had prohibited them from sharing their files online.

One day before Defense Distributed was set to release the files online, eight state attorneys general filed a lawsuit blocking the settlement and eventually secured an injunction prohibiting Defense Distributed from releasing the files. But Defense Distributed had already released the files prior to the court’s injunction, and they had been downloaded tens of thousands of times.

Finding the files online isn’t difficult, and there are many other groups that share them. On January 16, Deterrence Dispensed released a video announcing their commitment to remaining online and continuing their work.

“All individuals are entitled to the utility to defend their humanity,” their website reads. “Gun control has failed. You can’t stop the signal.”

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at jordan@gunsamerica.com.

{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Kane February 10, 2021, 10:35 pm

    “Pejorative nature”? How the f’ does your reply, fal phil, reflect anything in my post? My question was based on the technological and to a lesser extent the legal issues of plastic 3D guns. Plastic 3D “guns” are notoriously flimsy and inherently dangerous which spells worthless to me. The ugly picture of a “gun” at the top of the page seems to be made of some type of plastic with metal fastener with metal bullets placed in the foreground which begs the question, why bother in the first place? That was the technological issue that I was inviting anyone besides someone like you, phil, to clarify.

    Here is the legal basis of the question:

    “A federal law called the Undetectable Firearms Act makes illegal any guns that don’t go off in pass-through metal detectors. Such guns could, theoretically, include plastic 3D-printed guns. Plans ask users to insert a piece of metal into otherwise plastic guns to make them detectable.”

    So, I was trying to avoid someone giving me a legal lecture (whether real or imagined) and somehow that triggered a pompous response from a clown and you could just NOT pass up the opportunity of self aggrandizement with how the government is “afraid” of you.

    Just for fun, why don’t you list the top three reasons why the “government” even has you on the deep state radar and is actually “afraid” of you. Really, I will check back because I could use a good laugh after wasting my time responding to you in the first place.

  • Fal Phil February 8, 2021, 2:30 pm

    Their house, their rules. If you don’t like the way the neo-McCarthyites treat you, BUILD YOUR OWN PLATFORMS!!!

    • Kane February 10, 2021, 10:47 pm

      Oh, so you invested all that cake to build a “3D gun”? It seem I really underestimated you phil. What did you set up cost? Are you recouping the hundreds of thousands of dollars you have already invested with sales to your most trusted acquaintances?

  • Kane February 8, 2021, 2:09 pm

    Can a complete functional firearm be manufactured without using any metal including the ammunition? A few years ago a former associate of mine was claiming that this was the case and such was being done with 3D printing. I was skeptical since non-metal components would likely fail in key parts because of inherent pressures and wear. Was I wrong? Can a firearm that defeats a metal detector be produced regardless of any legal restrictions?

    • Fal Phil February 8, 2021, 2:43 pm

      “Can a complete functional firearm be manufactured without using any metal including the ammunition?”

      “Can a firearm that defeats a metal detector be produced regardless of any legal restrictions?”

      I am assuming that you are trolling here, because anyone with half a brain can answer these questions, especially considering the pejorative nature of the second question. So, the real question is why is your government so afraid of you? Well, maybe not you, since you are in their pocket, but why are they afraid of me? If they understand what their place is, and act accordingly, they have no reason to be afraid of me.

      There is no such thing as a dangerous weapon. There are only dangerous men.

      • Kane February 11, 2021, 4:34 pm

        “Pejorative nature”? How the f’ does your reply, fal phil, reflect anything in my post? My question was based on the technological and to a lesser extent the legal issues of plastic 3D guns. Plastic 3D “guns” are notoriously flimsy and inherently dangerous which spells worthless to me. The ugly picture of a “gun” at the top of the page seems to be made of some type of plastic with metal fastener with metal bullets placed in the foreground which begs the question, why bother in the first place? That was the technological issue that I was inviting anyone besides someone like you, phil, to clarify.

        Here is the legal basis of the question:

        “A federal law called the Undetectable Firearms Act makes illegal any guns that don’t go off in pass-through metal detectors. Such guns could, theoretically, include plastic 3D-printed guns. Plans ask users to insert a piece of metal into otherwise plastic guns to make them detectable.”

        So, I was trying to avoid someone giving me a legal lecture (whether real or imagined) and somehow that triggered a pompous response from a clown and you could just NOT pass up the opportunity of self aggrandizement with how the government is “afraid” of you.

        Just for fun, why don’t you list the top three reasons why the “government” even has you on the deep state radar and is actually “afraid” of you. Really, I will check back because I could use a good laugh after wasting my time responding to you in the first place.

    • Shanz February 11, 2021, 7:54 pm

      Great question. I was asking myself the same thing. At the very least ammunition would be detected right?

      • Kane February 12, 2021, 12:53 pm

        I suspect that plastic firearms are a red herring. There is no way to make an all plastic firearm and passing a law to prevent making them further clouds the issue. The object would likely be to dupe people into believing that somehow this is emerging tech which might serve as another false threat to manipulate the masses. The “Undetectable Firearms Act ” would NOT prevent any foreign entity from developing and producing such technology if it were in fact possible. The law is theoretical only.

        I admit that I could NOT prove my suspicions in a debate sometime ago. There is some production of plastic ammunition cases but would that component work in combination with plastic chambers, plastic projectiles and plastic barrels? I doubt it would even be safe for a one shot “firearm” that is charged with gunpowder. Maybe there are “guns” that can somehow use another propellant like compressed air but I have NOT seen any notable technology. My question was in good faith to see if there was anyone who was more knowledgeable on the issue.

        Thank you for a thoughtful reply.

        • Doc1966 August 22, 2021, 7:00 am

          You really need to do some research as 3d printing and materials have advanced to the point that there are numerous 3d printed firearms out there that are fully functional and operate fine that are made on a home printer. Now if someone has 10k or so they can buy a carbon fiber printer and make parts a strong as steel plus there are guys making 3d printed casings and bullets. The info is out there you just gotta look.

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