Written by S. Mark Tracy, CNN Nkosi M’Cheketsi, South Africa, CNN
Nkosi M’Cheketsi claims she has created the world’s first 3D-printed gun, a SKS model named the Nkosi . She has been in hiding since the news broke.
The little-known South African company making the weapon now faces an uncertain future as officials say they’re going to crack down on 3D-printed guns.
The SKS has a firing pin, fully functional hand pieces and several barrel bore marks. It was created by M’Cheketsi using the Strap-on 3D gun tool, a small device that attaches to a person’s arm. She took on the project in mid-January 2018 after becoming inspired by the ongoing efforts to remove silencers from the UN Treaty banning weapons of mass destruction. The SKS model has 25 parts, about one fifth of an AR-15 . It is likely the smallest 3D-printed gun to date.
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According to Wired, M’Cheketsi has been in hiding since the international news, which was broken in the April edition of Veer Magazine , on which she is an contributing writer.
The SKS model is made with an extruder on a layered tray, rather than a standalone printer. According to a reading on Wired, a fully functional gun was created with just three parts, by flipping a 3D printer over.
Born deaf, the librarian and photographer first made her name as an activist by organizing a charity bike ride from South Africa to Robben Island, formerly the prison home of Nelson Mandela . She has devoted her life to showing Africa’s transformation from apartheid to democracy, and recently published a book of pictures showing how people were affected by apartheid.
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M’Cheketsi is one of more than 1,000 companies vying for a license to sell guns on the US exchange . Following the mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, US President Donald Trump made reference to the gun plans on Twitter.
US officials could soon outlaw the development of 3D-printed guns or restrict their use
“Study the internet for illegal 3D-printed guns. Look what happened in Florida,” Trump wrote on Twitter on February 16.
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The fire has now caught many, including the White House and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, by surprise.
On Monday, the South African company announced it would seek a federal permit to sell its weapons, but M’Cheketsi has moved to distance herself from her company, attributing all the controversy to his name, Christian.
A federal spokeswoman said that M’Cheketsi’s submission — filed at approximately 5pm Eastern US time on April 16 — would not be accepted. “The federal government cannot grant permission to anyone to possess firearms without performing background checks on all potential buyers, both in person and online,” she said in a statement.
Currently, no US law bans 3D-printed guns. However, the number of companies producing them is growing, and the possibility of US restrictions is rising. The US federal government has granted licenses to 68 companies in the last two years. There are currently more than 100 companies involved in designing and making the guns.
A petition now has more than 1.3 million signatures calling for stricter gun control measures. And on April 15, the White House sent letters to every senator seeking their support for a bill banning the manufacture, sale, and transfer of 3D-printed firearms.