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The Department of State has taken control of the 3D printed gun designs that a Texas-based company has distributed online of how to make a plastic gun using a 3-D printer. The Wiki Weapons project on the DEFCAD forum has now gone dark. Just several days after Defense Distributed announced they had reached their goal of making a fully functional gun via a 3D printer and posted the blueprints online, the government took control of the online information.
Some lawmakers immediately called for a ban on the 3D printable guns because they are undetectable by x-ray machines and metal detectors. “The Liberator” printable gun blueprints were likely downloaded for a few days before the federal government posted this notice on the Defense Distributed website:
“This file has been removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.”
The DEFCAD forum posted this notice on their website:
“The island of misfit objects: Welcome to DEFCAD, operated by Defense Distributed. This site is a makeshift response to Makerbot Industries’ decision to censor files uploaded in good faith at Thingverse, specifically firearms related files. We are hosting as many of the pulled files as we can find. Check the news section for updates.”
During an interview with The Blaze, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson stated that the Wiki Weapons project about not just using 3D printers to make firearms, but about freedom of the Internet. Wilson has also noted that seeing liberty and sovereignty under threat played a big role in his decision to create a 3D printable firearm. The cost of such a printer is about $8,000.
After The Liberator printable gun instructions were yanked by the US Department of Defense Trade Controls, Wilson feels he got to the heart of the Internet access argument.
Cody Wilson had this to say about the Wiki Weapons blackout:
“Our society is based on hard controls. [The government] literally believes they can manage where these technologies take us. We spent months building an organization that complied with every law out there. I did it [consented to the government request that the files be removed] because they said I had to behave as if that information is theirs to control.”
The 3D printable gun founder also stated that he consented to the government request for removal to give his project the best chance to succeed moving forward. Over the course of the next 30 days, Cody Wilson will be working to answer the letter from the federal government agency in its entirety.
Even though the 3D printable gun blueprints are no longer available on the DEFCAD website, the files have been posted on websites originating in other countries. The possibility of temporarily yanking the 3D printable gun instructions from the Internet by the government will not be able to thwart the access to the technology. Those who have already downloaded The Liberator blueprints can easily share the file with others via email or by putting the information on a jump drive.
During an interview, before the US Department of Defense Trade Control became involved in the 3D printable gun process, Wilson noted that his design meant that no one would ever be able to “eradicate the gun from the face of the Earth.”
Some consider Wilson a hero of freedom, others a dangerous villain. Regardless of how you feel about the young techno genius’ attempts to ensure Second Amendment freedoms, it is clearly apparent that he has forever changed the concept of gun manufacturing. Wilson’s steadfast belief that liberty and innovation are under attack in America appears to have been proven true as evidenced by the swift government intrusion on his website.
Even those who do not feel that everyone should have the ability to print their own guns have to see the lopsided logic at blocking access to the 3D printable gun instructions when directions on how to craft fertilizer bombs and make poisons is still readily available. To think that Wilson’s invention would somehow increase crime, one would actually have to be naïve enough to think that more background checks and the banning of AR-15s and high capacity magazines would actually reduce violence or mass shootings in America.
Should Wilson lose his battle over the free sharing of The Liberator blueprints or is put behind bars for his right to bear arms efforts, 3D guns will still be printed far into the future. Once news of the 3D printable gun file-sharing shutdown made headlines, the story quickly went viral.
A plethora of comments were posted on social media outlets about government overreach and infringement upon both First Amendment and Second Amendment freedoms. The far-left has also chimed in and hurled violent threats filled with foul language at Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed.
Letter the US Department of Defense Trade Controls sent to Defense Distributed:
The Department believes Defense Distributed may not have established the proper jurisdiction of the subject technical data. To resolve this matter officially, we request that Defense Distributed submit Commodity Jurisdiction (CJ) determination requests for the following selection of data files available on DEFCAD.org, and any other technical data for which Defense Distributed is unable to determine proper jurisdiction:
- Defense Distributed Liberator pistol
- .22 electric
- 125mm BK-14M high-explosive anti-tank warhead
- 5.56/.223 muzzle brake
- Springfield XD-40 tactical slide assembly
- Sound Moderator – slip on
- “The Dirty Diane” 1/2-28 to 3/4-16 STP S3600 oil filter silencer adapter
- 12 gauge to .22 CB sub-caliber insert
- Voltlock electronic black powder system
- VZ-58 sight
DTCC/END requests that Defense Distributed submits its CJ requests within three weeks of the receipt of this letter and notify this office of the final CJ determinations. All CJ requests must be submitted electronically through an online application using the DS-4076 Commodity Jurisdiction Request Form. The form, guidance for submitting CJ requests, and other relevant information such as a copy of the ITAR can be found on DDTC’s website at https://www.pmddtc.state.gov.
Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with the final CJ determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled. This means that all such data should be removed form public access immediately. Defense Distributed should also review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any additional data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.
Additionally, DTCC/END requests information about the procedures Defense Distributed follows to determine the classification of its technical data, to include aforementioned technical data files. We ask that you provide your procedures for determining proper jurisdiction of technical data within 30 days of the date of this letter to Ms. Bridget Van Buren, Compliance Specialist, Enforcement Division, at the address below.
@rstepanenko Guess what, tolerant liberal? Publicly wishing for our death across state lines makes you a candidate for federal prison!
— Defense Distributed (@DefDist) May 4, 2013
#DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State.
— Defense Distributed (@DefDist) May 9, 2013