3D-Printed Guns Is Not About Guns. It’s About Information

May 10th, 2013

Cody Wilson, reacting to the State Department’s ordering the takedown of his blueprints for the 3D-printed handgun (the aptly named “Liberator”), had these interesting comments:

He said his goal was not to increase the number of guns made from 3-D printers, but rather to show that, in the Internet age, neither industry nor the government can control information about new technology or how that information is used. “I don’t care about the project,” he said. “This is about the future of the freedom of information and regulation of the Internet.”

He said he complied, emphasizing that, for him, guns were not the point. He said he thought printing a gun was the most compelling way to make his point, but added, “3-D printing is a ridiculous way of making gun parts.”

“This is a fight about two competing visions of the future,” Mr. Wilson said. “I think my vision of distributed technology will win.”

I think this is exactly right. It is no longer possible to only police the possession and distribution of actual products. Now, the information that creates these products must be censored. The efforts to stifle 3D printing is a first chapter in suppressing information and data online. Recently, a leading IP Professor–who is no fan of guns–told me that the 3D-printed guns may save 3D printing. I am working on an article considering the First And Second Amendment, and 3D Printing, that just took on a new air of urgency.