Man sells 3D-printed firearms to a buyback program for $21,000

The man printed 110 firearms.
Loukia Papadopoulos
3D printed guns.jpg
3D printed guns


An upstate New York man told New York's WKTV news station on Tuesday that he was able to earn $21,000 by 3D printing more than 100 small firearms and selling them to the attorney general's office.

110 firearms

The man who only identified himself as Kem to the media said he drove to Utah for six hours to get his money.

"I 3D-printed a bunch of lower receivers and frames for different kinds of firearms," Kem told WKTV. "And he sees the tote and says, 'how many firearms do you have?' And I said, '110.'"

The idea came to him after seeing some relevant Twitter posts. New York AG's "Cash for Guns" program tells residents that they can trade in firearms for money and many people on Twitter were considering doing so. This inspired Kem to use a $200 3D printer he'd gotten for Christmas to make some cold hard cash.

However, Kem added that getting his money was not so easy. He had to haggle and negotiate with the Attorney General's Office staff. He ended up spending his whole day in this endeavor.

Man sells 3D-printed firearms to a buyback program for $21,000
The man 3D printed 110 firearms.

“And it ended with the guy and a lady from the budget office finally coming around with the 42 gift cards and counting them in front of me," said Kem. "$21,000 in $500 gift cards."

Kem added that his little experiment indicated that these kinds of policies simply don’t work.

"I'm sure handing over $21,000 in gift cards to some punk kid after getting a bunch of plastic junk was a rousing success," said Kem. "Gun buybacks are a fantastic way of showing, number one, that your policies don't work, and, number 2, you're creating perverse demand. You're causing people to show up to these events, and, they don't actually reduce crime whatsoever."

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Exploiting a useful program

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, a spokesperson at the Attorney General's Office released the following statement:

“It’s shameful that this individual exploited a program that has successfully taken thousands of guns off the streets to protect our communities from gun violence. We have partnered with local police throughout the state to recover more than 3,500 guns, and one individual’s greedy behavior won’t tarnish our work to promote public safety. We have adjusted our policies to ensure that no one can exploit this program again for personal gain.”

In July of 2018, a years-long battle between the US State Department and a website called Defense Distributed (DD) revealed a settlement that favored the latter. At the time, the decision was said to have the potential to introduce the "age of the downloadable gun” by allowing DD to offer a 3D printed gun called the Liberator for download.

In October of 2018, researchers developed a method for tracking 3D-printed firearms. The technology, named the PrinTracker, specifically aimed to help various intelligence and law enforcement agencies to more easily and efficiently track the firearms which have been produced using 3D printing technology.

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