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3D Printed Guns: More Freedom, Less Government

From New Amer­i­can — With Cody Wil­son, the founder of Defense Dis­trib­uted, a com­pa­ny that sells both soft­ware and hard­ware allow­ing indi­vid­u­als to make firearms at home, is get­ting more atten­tion thanks to his pend­ing law­suit against the gov­ern­ment. In light of this, Thor Ben­son with the lib­er­al anti-gun Dai­ly Beast, decid­ed to inter­view Wil­son. Fol­low­ing that inter­view, Ben­son pre­dict­ed a “ter­ri­fy­ing future” where gov­ern­ment gun con­trollers wouldn’t be able to keep up with Wilson’s expand­ing tech­nol­o­gy.

Ben­son wrote that leg­is­la­tors can pass laws requir­ing back­ground checks and putting unde­sir­ables onto “no fly, no buy” lists all day long. But they will have pre­cious lit­tle impact when peo­ple have the free­dom to pur­chase the increas­ing­ly sophis­ti­cat­ed hard­ware and soft­ware to make their own weapons at home.

Ben­son was dis­mayed with the con­cept of “ghost guns” becom­ing a real­i­ty “because they’re essen­tial­ly untrace­able.” He became even more upset when he learned that Wil­son thinks that’s a good thing, and that his company’s mis­sion is to allow cit­i­zens to oper­ate freely around gun-con­trol laws. He quot­ed Wil­son: “I have noth­ing but con­tempt for peo­ple who would sup­port [the] secret list cul­ture and the Stasi envi­ron­ment that that cre­ates…. [Pass] all the back­ground check [laws] you want. My com­pa­ny is built around evad­ing that entire pro­gram.”

Oh, the hor­ror! Ben­son saw the future and he didn’t like it: “Thou­sands of ama­teur gun man­u­fac­tur­ers could be oper­at­ing inde­pen­dent­ly around the coun­try with­out any­one know­ing. As these untrace­able guns spread through­out the coun­try, the iden­ti­ties of their cre­ators get com­plete­ly lost.”

Even worse, Ben­son wrote, was how increas­ing­ly dif­fi­cult it would be for anti-gun politi­cians to keep track of all those indi­vid­u­als exer­cis­ing their new­ly-expand­ed free­doms: “It remains unclear how politi­cians will get around the issue of peo­ple mak­ing their own guns at home. Some­one with a 3-D print­er or a milling machine [which Wilson’s com­pa­ny also sells] can make a gun at home with­out being con­nect­ed to a [gov­ern­ment] net­work that might detect what they are doing.”

Adam Win­kler, author of Gun­fight: The Bat­tle Over the Right to Bear Arms in Amer­i­ca and pro­fes­sor of con­sti­tu­tion­al law at UCLA, agrees with Ben­son but with­out the histri­on­ics: “[3-D print­ing of guns] cer­tain­ly adds a lay­er of com­plex­i­ty to gun con­trol that we haven’t seen before, and it’s like­ly to under­mine many of our cur­rent gun laws.”

Win­kler also agreed with Benson’s fear that politi­cians could pass laws but with­out any means to enforce them: “You could pro­hib­it the man­u­fac­ture of these firearms … [but] the tech­nol­o­gy will still exist, and as long as [that] tech­nol­o­gy exists, any leg­is­la­tion becomes dif­fi­cult to [enforce].”

It’s not that they will give up try­ing. In Decem­ber 2013, the Philadel­phia city coun­cil passed an ordi­nance redefin­ing firearms to include “any device, made or adapt­ed to expel a pro­jec­tile through a bar­rel” and then ban­ning any cit­i­zen from mak­ing one: “No per­son shall use a three-dimen­sion­al print­er to cre­ate any firearm, or any piece or part there­of, unless such per­son pos­sess­es a license to man­u­fac­ture firearms under Fed­er­al law.”

Var­i­ous penal­ties were applied, but with­out one word about how it would be enforced.

In July, Cal­i­for­nia Gov­er­nor Jer­ry Brown signed into law some­thing very sim­i­lar, expand­ing the def­i­n­i­tion of “firearm” to include “an unfin­ished frame or receiv­er that can be read­i­ly con­vert­ed to the func­tion­al con­di­tion of a fin­ished frame or receiv­er” which then makes such an item reg­u­lat­ed under California’s already noto­ri­ous­ly strin­gent gun-con­trol laws.

Again, just how would the state enforce the new­ly expand­ed law? As Wil­son told Adam Popes­cu, writ­ing for the lib­er­al British tabloid The Guardian: “We’ve [already] shipped almost 2,000 machines at this point. We’re respon­si­ble for at least 5,000 to 10,000 new [ghost] ARs … at least.”

Wilson’s pro­file could take a quan­tum jump if he wins his First and Sec­ond Amend­ment law­suit against the gov­ern­ment: “I have devel­op­ers for any­thing and every­thing, some of the best tal­ent in the world. I know some of the world’s best hack­ers. It’s all ready to go. I have inter­est­ed stake­hold­ers, a large net­work that care about what I do…. I’m not the NRA. I’m the inter­net.”

Wilson’s pro­file could also take a quan­tum jump depend­ing on the out­come of the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion: “If Hillary Clin­ton is elect­ed pres­i­dent, I become a much more impor­tant per­son in the gun world. It’s con­ceiv­able, espe­cial­ly under four or eight years of Hillary, that I become the biggest way [for] peo­ple to make ARs.”

Anti-gun leg­is­la­tors such as Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) have been try­ing to rein in the pro­lif­er­a­tion of guns for years. He sports a zero-per­cent rat­ing from both the NRA and the Gun Own­ers of Amer­i­ca while enjoy­ing a 100-per­cent rat­ing from both the Brady Cam­paign and the Coali­tion to Stop Gun Vio­lence. He co-spon­sored leg­is­la­tion to extend the Unde­tectable Firearms Act of 1988 for anoth­er 10 years in Decem­ber 2013.

What is Israel, and oth­ers like him in Con­gress, going to do about enforce­ment of these laws? How about tech­nol­o­gy that will soon allow 3D print­ers to repli­cate them­selves? Or allow 3D print­ing of the essen­tial com­po­nents of rifle and pis­tol ammu­ni­tion? If the essence of free­dom is the lim­i­ta­tion of gov­ern­ment, then Wil­son, the Inter­net, and 3D print­ers and their relat­ed hard­ware and soft­ware will con­tin­ue to expand indi­vid­ual free­dom and leave Israel and oth­ers like him try­ing des­per­ate­ly to catch up.

Sen. Chris Murphy
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ER1C ☠

ER1C ☠

Dedicated Second Amendment Advocate, At-Home Gunsmith, Designer, Blogger, Video Guy, Author, Business Owner & ReloadOne Member.

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