Reason on “The Unstoppable Plastic Gun”

November 12th, 2013

Brian Doherty has a great profile of the details behind the 3D-Printed Plastic gun created by Cody Wilson.

This passage in particular is germane to my research about the intersection of the First and Second Amendments:

In other words, by releasing CAD (computer-aided design) files allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to make a somewhat fragile plastic pistol, Wilson may have become an illegal arms trafficker. The State Department didn’t say for sure that this information (some might call it speech) fell under its jurisdiction. But while regulators pondered the question-and four months later, at press time, they were still pondering-they demanded that Wilson “treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled,” meaning that “all such data should be removed from public access immediately.”

By early summer, DefCad was throwing off enough advertising revenue to keep Wilson going. As he contemplates a likely future of legal actions against, or in defense from, the federal government, the provocateur is cannily keeping his eye out for fund­raising opportunities and communities of affinity he can call on during inevitable times of trouble. Wilson has formed alliances or received help or guidance from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Second Amendment Foundation, the Institute for Justice, and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, among others.

Stay tuned.