Posted by on October 4, 2017 12:55 am
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Categories: 3D printed firearms 3D Printing Cody Wilson Defense Distributed Department of State Economy federal government Firearms Gun politics handgun Las Vegas Liberator Military technology Milling Non-profit technology Obama Administration Politics Security Statement Department Technology United States government


The story starts with Cody Wilson, an American crypto-anarchist, free market anarchist, and gun-right activist. He is the founder of Defense Distributed, a non-profit organization that develops and publishes open source gun designs.

The about section on Defense Distributed describes the company as an ‘anti-monopolist digital publishing’. 

Back in 2013, Defense Distributed gained international attention after it published the world’s first fully 3D-printed gun called the Liberator. Almost immediately, the Statement Department under the Obama administration demanded Mr. Wilson takedown the 3D-printable gun files for possible export control violations. In the first two days, downloads for the 3D-printable gun exceeded 100,000.

Wilson argued that he’s legally protected, and says Defense Distributed “is excluded from the ITAR regulations under an exemption for non-profit public domain releases of technical files designed to create a safe harbor for research and other public interest activities”.

Mr. Wilson eventually had to remove the Liberator files from the internet, due to State Department pressure.

Jumping to 2014, Mr. Wilson received the title as ‘Ghost Gunner’ and was described as a gun manufacture by some for creating AR-15 frames without serial numbers. Defense Distributed offered the internet a package including a CNC milling machine that can turn an aluminum block into an AR-15 lower receiver, the components regulated  by state and federal authorities. The machine called ‘Ghost Gunner 2’ (3D-printer) and 80% AR-15 lower receivers are still being sold on Defense Distributed’s website.

Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, it is illegal for an unlicensed person to make a firearm for sale or distribution. But in Defense Distributed case producing blueprints or just manufacturing 80% of the component is perfectly legal.  

In 2015, Fedex and UPS refused to ship a digital CNC milling machine out of Defense Disturbed. Fedex spokesman told WIRED, “this device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals. We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations”.

The Spectre of homemade firearms prompted California in 2016 to ban ‘Ghost Guns’ but there is no law on the federal level prohibiting anyone from downloading gun blueprints.

On Sunday, Mr. Wilson’s group announced a new software for his computer-controlled milling machine to carve out the aluminum frame of an M1911 handgun. According to WIRED, “the latest model of the milling machine can finish a handgun’s frame in about an hour, with minimal human interaction”.

In a pistol, the frame is the only regulated part and anything else can be purchased online without questions. Defense Distributed has decentralized the entire process of assembling a workable weapon without identification, background check, and serial tracking number. Let’s assume the State Department has read this article and is now in a full blown panic.

Anyone in America now has the ability to own a handgun thanks to Defense Distributed. Highlighted above, California is the only state that has outlawed ‘Ghost Guns’ and it shows how the federal government and even state governments are failing to keep up with technological advances.


“The ghost gun threat is real and growing,” says Kevin De Leon, the California state senator who introduced the statewide ghost gun ban.

“Are they being made by gang members? Are they being manufactured to sell to individuals who are prohibited from possessing firearms? Technologies that make it possible for the general public to manufacture guns raise serious questions.”

Mr. Wilson’s passion to let every American build an industrial quality gun at home is nothing new. Gun part vendors have been selling 80 precent frames and unfinished parts for quite some time.

But its the method of creation through 3D-printers, which has the United States government in a panic.

Gun control talk will once again become a national subject with Class 3 weapons in focus following today’s tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas. Reports of 58 deaths and 515 injured marks the worst mass shooting in US history.

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