It is been for a while
since we had to cover news of gun printing advocacy group Defense Distributed and its crypto-anarchist leader, Cody Wilson. But it’s a new year and the fear surrounding 3D printed guns has to be stirred up again preceding 2016 gets completely under way. Yesterday, UK tabloid The Daily Mirror has done what gossip rags do and stirred up gossip of the future of terrorists getting their hands on 3D printed machine guns after announcing that Wilson and Defense Distributed had created plans for a 3D printable AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.
Wilson and his arms non-profit initially created headlines when they released the 3D printable files for their Liberator handgun, that was subsequently removed of the Defense Distributed in response to demands of the State Department, but not preceding the files were easily shared widely on torrent sites. Whilst Defense Distributed seeks to sue the US government for preventing the organization’s freedom of speech, with 3D files constituting the speech according to Defense Distributed, legislators in the US and abroad have sought to pass laws related to gun printing. Their fears are related to the off-the-grid producing of weapons by criminals or the faculty to carry non-metal weapons passed metal detectors. Defense Distributed has in addition created a CNC mill, dubbed the Ghostgunner, framed as a means of producing metal assault rifle parts.
The lower receiver of an AR-15, CNC’d with the Ghostgunner.
In a Mirror story published yesterday, Wilson tells the paper that he may already has the files for a 3D printable semi-automatic, but that he has not yet released them, due the legal battle in that he is already embroiled with the US State Department. “I promise you the reason you haven’t seen this yet is for the reason it has been artificially delayed. I may have demonstrated this for you if I was allowed to. I am fighting my fight with the government but we have a whole new range of things.” When asked if he had a “downloadable 3D machine gun”, Wilson replied, “That’s basically what I’m telling you.”
Because 3D printed weapons have been discovered on crime scenes, the tabloid goes on to extrapolate the use of 3D printed weapons by terrorists, with chemical weapons adviser Hamish de Bretton Gordon telling The Mirror,“This is producing terrorists’ jobs so much simpler. Particularly in the UK where security services are putting in so much effort to prevent an attack by one of [ISIS]’s ‘clean skins’. The man who is releasing this is completely irresponsible. We can just hope the authorities in the US are going to deal with this individual. It is perfectly
In the interview above, Wilson responds to concerns surrounding the abilities of individuals producing weapons at home by pointing out that weight manufactured weapons are the main source of arms of the world, “Whenever these individuals get on TV and point the finger at the hobbyist, they fail to mention most AR-15s they themselves are shipping to Mexico, Al Nusra, through Turkey with CIA operations all over these theaters of war in the Middle East.”
In the 3D printed gun discussion, 3D printing enthusiasts express fears that computer fabrication can be controlled, with legislators focusing on regulating the innovation as a whole. When the issue does arise, I ponder that Wilson does bring up a valid point. Just as 3D printing is most likely less of a concern for gun control advocates in the US, given the ease of purchasing weapons at big box stores and gun shows, it is in addition most likely less of a concern in the fight against terrorism, given the role that the global arms trade plays in getting professionally created weapons to terrorists.