Starting August 1, you can 3D print a gun

After years in court, the Justice Department lost a battle with Cody Wilson that will allow unregulated 3D printing of automatic weapons.


July 17, 2018

Last week, the Department of Justice made it easier to produce guns with a 3D printer in a settlement with gun-printing startup Defense Distributed.

The ruling is the result of multi-year crusade spearheaded by gun-rights evangelist Cody Wilson and allows Defense Distributed to post detailed blueprints for ‘ghost guns’ — which are untraceable, unregistered, and DIY for anyone with access to a 3D printer.

The rise of ‘wiki-weapons’

Cody Wilson (creator of hate-based crowdfunding platform Hatreon and one of the perennial “most dangerous people on the internet”) founded Defense Distributed in 2012 to make homemade weapons available to all.

But, after DD’s ‘Wiki Weapon Project’ spat out its first functional firearm, The Liberator, in 2013, the Justice Department forced Wilson to remove the gun’s blueprints from the internet, invoking a gun export law.

Wilson, being the radical libertarian/crypto-anarchist he is, decided to appeal the State Department’s ban in court.

New technology, old amendment

Wilson argued that posting digital blueprints of automatic weapons online was simply an expression of his First Amendment right of free speech — and the Department of Justice ruled in his favor.

Now, thanks to improved  3D-printing technology and this new law, turning digital schematics into actual guns requires only an internet connection and a 3D printer. For DIY gun lovers without 3D printers, Defense Distributed produces a specialized machine called the Ghost Gunner.

Ghost guns: Coming to a garage printer near you

After winning the settlement, Defense Distributed relaunched its comprehensive gun encyclopedia, DEFCAD, which features guns ranging from AR-15s to Berettas. The website is open for uploads and will allow for downloads starting in August.

To reduce the number of mass shootings in America (where gun deaths are 25x higher than other high-income countries), politicians are debating ways to control gun ownership.

Suggestions range from background checks, bans on assault weapons, minimum age requirements, and ‘red flag’ warning systems — all of which are impossible if anonymous gunsmiths can download and print untraceable guns in their garages.

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