As the news unfolds about today’s Washington Navy Yard shooting rampage that left 13 dead, many Texans have a little extra heartache to hear that the alleged shooter is from Fort Worth. While all this is going on, the Texas-based group, Defense Distributed, is being honored for its disturbing design project at the London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. As of last Saturday, the Liberator, the world’s first 3D printed handgun is on display as part of the museum’s Design Festival. It will remain on view through September 22 and then join the museum’s permanent collection.
Defense Distributed’s founder Cody Wilson told Ars Technica that, although he had received offers from other museums, he went with the V&A because they “understood the potentially disruptive nature of individuals being able to print their own firearms.” Kieran Long, V&A’s senior curator of contemporary architecture, design, and digital called the Liberator “the biggest impact in design this year.”
To Wilson, who has decided to drop out of UT’s law school and says that he will most likely use the proceeds to buy another 3D printer, the Liberator’s inclusion in a museum makes sense. “I think the whole time, there were what you could call artistic sensibilities about what we’re doing,” said Wilson. “The whole thing was a bit of agitprop anyway.”