What Has America Come To When You Can’t Build Your Very Own 3D-Printed Gun, an Unlicensed, Unregistered Killing Machine?

The Liberator
Wikimedia Commons

After more than three years in judiciary limbo, the debate over 3D-printed guns is alive and well thanks to a recent reversal from the State Department that granted gun freak Cody Wilson the right to distribute plans for a do-it-yourself killing spree catalyst.

When it comes right down to it, it’s a win for personal freedom, really. Who can deny any mentally unstable American the right to settle a score like he’s walking into the OK Corral?

Not even this typically offensive tangerine dummy could see the point of a 3D-printed gun:


Cody Wilson: The Man, the Myth, the Asshat

In 2013, former law student Cody Wilson achieved his stupid, reckless dream of building the world’s first 3D-printed gun, dubbed the Liberator. As he described his vision to Forbes’ Andy Greenburg, Wilson’s hope was that “Anywhere there’s a computer and an Internet connection, there would be the promise of a gun.”

This gun, to be exact:

Fortunately, the moment that Wilson released his plans, Obama’s State Department put the kibosh on that idea, correctly stating that the notion of a 3D-printed gun violated federal law. Of course, that’s Wilson’s whole point.

Crypto-Anarchy Isn’t About Freedom, It’s a Technological Inevitability

The first time you hear Cody Wilson’s name, the term “crypto-anarchist” is sure to pop up within the next 50 or so words. Crypto anarchy can be traced back to a one-page “manifesto” released by Timothy May in 1988. The gist of the manifesto is simple. The growing world of technology and its emphasis on anonymity would subvert the control of the state by allowing free exchange of goods, services, and ideas without fear of regulation.

Though The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto only runs a little over 500 words, there are, admittedly, some cool bits. May basically predicts illegal anonymous sharing sites like Craigslist, The Silk Road, and the Pirate Bay, as well as indirectly forecasting the rise of bitcoin.


Today, however, crypto-anarchy has been appropriated by a bunch of basement dwellers who think the philosophy is a license to break the law. To these irresponsible dolts, crypto-anarchy is how technological breeds personal freedom. In other words, it’s physically possible to do, so why shouldn’t we be able to?

The one aspect of crypto-anarchy that these dill holes overlook is May’s own acknowledgment that crypto-anarchy carried with it several “valid” issues including, but not limited to, “national security concerns, use of the technology by drug dealers and tax evaders, and fears of societal disintegration.”

In other words, May stated that crypto-anarchy wasn’t inherently good (or evil). It was simply inevitable and needed to be governed on the basis of personal reputation rather than credit score. It’s an egalitarian philosophy that’s based on personal responsibility, not doing whatever the hell you want just because the internet makes it possible to get away with it.

Crypto-anarchists in the mold of Cody Wilson aren’t paving the way for freedom, they’re enabling the actions of selfish criminals.

Which brings us to this summer, when all of a sudden —

The State Department Decided, “Sure, Why Shouldn’t 3D Printers = Guns?”

Almost as soon as the State Department shut down his 3D-printed freedom exchange, Wilson sued the government agency, proclaiming that every American had the right to choose to build their own 3D-printed guns or not. For five long years, the State Department laughed directly in Wilson’s face.


Until this summer, when the State Department suddenly dropped their suit and chose to grant Wilson a license to hand out blueprints for DIY 3D-printed guns.

For some reason, four states set about assaulting the State Department’s decision. That number has grown to 19 states (plus Washington DC). Wilson has a real boner for the legal battle (and the accompanying attention). He’s taken to styling himself as a first amendment crusader. Because that plays better than fame-seeking bonehead.

Wikimedia Commons

Hey, What Does the NRA Have to Say About All This?

Gun lobbyist and militant wing of the Republican Party, the NRA, loves to skirt the 3D-printed gun issue. The organization’s official stance on the issue is, and I’m quoting here, “Meh.”

The NRA released a statement to that effect, arguing that everyone worried about people having undetectable guns should just chill out because plastic firearms are illegal, so obviously no one is going to make them.


The catch in the case of Cody Wilson, however, is that his Liberator has a metal firing pin. So, it’s not undetectable and therefore not illegal and thus — according to the NRA, at least — not a big deal.

After all, what could be wrong with putting a whole crapload more firearms out on the street?

It’s Already Too Late (and It Has Been for Some Time)

There is one positive thing you can say about the 3D-printed gun debate. About 80 percent of United States citizens across a vast swath of demographics opposed the online availability of 3D-printed guns. Hey, any issue that brings together that big a majority in the fractured “everything is politics” landscape of the United States is kind of a win, right?


Sorry, I was just softening you up. Let’s go out on a terrifically negative note, shall we? The first time that Cody “Liberator” Wilson released his plans online, the blueprints were downloaded more than 100,000 times. Now that Wilson has permission to continue distributing the plans through his non-profit Defense Distributed, that number will soon look like a drop in the bucket. In other words, the method for building 3D-printed guns is out there and circulating with relative freedom among a group of people who are rooting for a crippled federal government.

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