US ‘crypto-anarchist’ sees 3D-printed guns as basic right

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on August 3, 2018.
-A +A

AUSTIN: The US “crypto-anarchist” who caused panic this week by publishing online blueprints for 3D-printed firearms said on Wednesday that whatever the outcome of a legal battle, he has already succeeded in his political goal of spreading the designs far and wide. 

A federal court judge blocked Texan Cody Wilson’s website on Tuesday by issuing a temporary injunction.

Eight states had sued, arguing the blueprints could allow anyone — from a teen to a “lone wolf” gunman — to make untraceable, undetectable plastic weapons. 

Wilson complied with the judge’s order and shut down his Defcad website, which he wanted to turn into the “WikiLeaks of guns”. 

But by then, the blueprints he had posted — after President Donald Trump’s administration granted him permission to publish in a settlement to end a five-year legal battle — had been downloaded thousands of times. 

“No matter how badly I win or lose, you can download a gun from the Internet,” Wilson told AFP at the headquarters of Defense Distributed, the company he runs out of a modest factory in Texas capital Austin. 

Wilson believes the intense media attention he generated cemented one of his principal goals: to use technology and the spread of gun-making information as a permanent bulwark against any future attempts at gun control in the US.

The issue is far from academic. The Los Angeles Police Department last month showcased a trove of such 3D-printed weapons it recovered from gang members. Law enforcement cannot trace these weapons if they are used to commit crimes. — AFP