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Printable gun reportedly set for testing by end of year

Defense Distributed, a US non-profit corporation and right to bear arms advocate, has devised a plastic 3D-printable gun prototype which it will begin to test by the end of this year, the Guardian has reported.

"We're sitting on the logistics, time, resources and money. We're just waiting on a little piece of paper," said company spokesperson and co-founder Cody Wilson.

The so-called 'Wiki Weapon' project is currently awaiting approval, as the Texas-based company requires a federal firearms license to push forward. The license is expected to be granted in the next two or three weeks.

Wilson has also met with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in an effort to snag the ‘special occupation taxpayer’ license, which would afford Defense Distributed permission to build more powerful weapons like machine guns.

The use of regulated channels in the development of this controversial undertaking was not always part of the plan, as Defense Distributed initially wanted to enter production without a license. Its initial attempts were thwarted when the 3D printer supplier, Stratasys, objected to the use of its hardware for unsanctioned practices.

“It is the policy of Stratasys not to knowingly allow its printers to be used for illegal purposes. Therefore please be advised that your lease of the Stratasys uPrint SE is cancelled at this time," Stratasys said at the time.

The firm has also faced obstacles regarding the gathering of funds; crowd-funding site Indiegogo barred its online fundraising campaign, which had generated $2,000 (£1,249) and was later returned to the donors. The company still managed to drum up $20,000 (£12,400) via direct deposit platform Bitcoin and secure a testing location with the aid of two undisclosed Texan companies.

The company will enter product testing as soon as it is awarded its firearm license and will be operating from four to five blueprints that were created by a group of independent designers.