Most of you didn’t hear this story, and I don’t know why.
Last week, other than Wired.com and TheBlaze.com, very few conservative outlets picked up on the story about 3D printed guns. Despite a few more sites running the story this week, it died out due to our three-minute news attention span.
What’s the big deal? Oh, not much, except that the Second Amendment was just cast in stone, and inserted next to Lincoln on Mt. Rushmore.
FIVE YEARS AGO, 25-year-old radical libertarian Cody Wilson stood on a remote central Texas gun range and pulled the trigger on the world’s first fully 3-D-printed gun. When, to his relief, his plastic invention fired a .380-caliber bullet into a berm of dirt without jamming or exploding in his hands, he drove back to Austin and uploaded the blueprints for the pistol to his website, Defcad.com.
He’d launched the site months earlier along with an anarchist video manifesto, declaring that gun control would never be the same in an era when anyone can download and print their own firearm with a few clicks. In the days after that first test-firing, his gun was downloaded more than 100,000 times. Wilson made the decision to go all in on the project, dropping out of law school at the University of Texas, as if to confirm his belief that technology supersedes law.
What do you think happened?
The law caught up. Less than a week later, Wilson received a letter from the US State Department demanding that he take down his printable-gun blueprints or face prosecution for violating federal export controls. Under an obscure set of US regulations known as the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR), Wilson was accused of exporting weapons without a license, just as if he’d shipped his plastic gun to Mexico rather than put a digital version of it on the internet. He took Defcad.com offline, but his lawyer warned him that he still potentially faced millions of dollars in fines and years in prison simply for having made the file available to overseas downloaders for a few days. “I thought my life was over,” Wilson says.
Instead of going quietly into the night, with the help of The Second Amendment Foundation, Wilson fought back, and won.
The Department of Justice’s surprising settlement, confirmed in court documents earlier this month, essentially surrenders to that argument. It promises to change the export control rules surrounding any firearm below .50 caliber—with a few exceptions like fully automatic weapons and rare gun designs that use caseless ammunition—and move their regulation to the Commerce Department, which won’t try to police technical data about the guns posted on the public internet. In the meantime, it gives Wilson a unique license to publish data about those weapons anywhere he chooses.
“I consider it a truly grand thing,” Wilson says. “It will be an irrevocable part of political life that guns are downloadable, and we helped to do that.”
Lest you surmise the government got to Wilson before he could “distribute” this information:
In the meantime, selling Ghost Gunners [the business Wilson created for selling milling machines] has been a lucrative business. Defense Distributed has sold roughly 6,000 of the desktop devices to DIY gun enthusiasts across the country, mostly for $1,675 each, netting millions in profit. The company employs 15 people and is already outgrowing its North Austin headquarters. But Wilson says he’s never been interested in money or building a startup for its own sake. He now claims that the entire venture was created with a singular goal: to raise enough money to wage his legal war against the US State Department.
There’s more, and it’s good news. Part of the settlement reached with Wilson is the following statement that the US State department flat out admitted what everyone with a fifth-grade education has known all along:
“Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber—including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms—are not inherently military.” (emphasis mine)
Every state that tries to ban the laughably termed “assault weapons” will run head-long into State’s public admission.
That’ll do, leftists. You may sit down.
My friends, we know how fast technology is advancing. From medicine to transportation, entertainment to commerce, food to weaponry, we are witnessing large shifts in distribution – and by that I mean the de-centralization of virtually everything. The government is a gigantic ship with too small a rudder; it’s too slow to catch up. Outside the confines of the Constitution, this is a good thing.
God Bless America.
Image: By Kamenev – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27473129