If you hosted a roundtable with a broad cross-section of the community in an attempt to work out America‘s gun violence problem, you mostly likely wouldn’t come up with easily downloadable firearms as the solution. And yet. Thanks to the Trump administration, from August 1 a blueprint will be commercially available which will enable people to make their own guns with a 3D printer and plastic resin.
This all follows from a court case late last month, when the U.S. State Department settled a case with Defense Distributed, the company behind the blueprint, allowing them to distribute the blueprint with virtually no restrictions. This is despite the fact the government had won several lower court judgements against the company and its founder Cody Wilson.
“The government fought us all the way and then all of the sudden folded their tent,” said Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights group which assisted Wilson with the lawsuit.
— Cody R. Wilson (@Radomysisky) July 10, 2018
The argument Wilson had previously put forward is that he wasn’t actually distributing guns – just computer code. The government restricting his ability to do so, he argued, was a violation of both export laws and his free speech rights.
So the guides are going back up on August 1st. Perhaps more than a little worryingly, the blueprints provide for a weapon which requires only a metal firing pin in order to become fully functional. Wilson’s original printable design which started all this hubbub – a single-shot handgun the Liberator – required two pieces of metal, including the firing pin.
“The age of the downloadable gun formally begins,” Defense Distributed’s website boldly proclaims, which would be an incredibly hack line if you put it in shitty cyberpunk fanfic, but it is very much real.
Obviously, gun rights advocates are a little concerned. It’s already pretty easy for those who shouldn’t have guns to get their hands on one in America, but it’ll be even easier if they can do it with a 3D printer, a schematic, and some cheap bits of metal.