The Age Of The 3D-Printed Gun

Jul 25, 2018

With Anthony Brooks

Coming soon — printing your own gun on a 3D printer. Is it the end of gun control?


Andy Greenberg, senior writer for Wired who has been following this story since 2013. (@a_greenberg)

Avery Gardiner, co-president of The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which filed an amicus brief in the case. (@AveryWGardiner)

Dave Kopel, associate policy analyst, Cato Institute. Research director at the Independence Institute. Adjunct professor of constitutional law at Denver University and author of “The Truth About Gun Control.” (@davekopel)

From The Reading List

Wired: “A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora’s Box For DIY Guns” — “Two months ago, the Department of Justice quietly offered Wilson a settlement to end a lawsuit he and a group of co-plaintiffs have pursued since 2015 against the United States government. Wilson and his team of lawyers focused their legal argument on a free speech claim: They pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information. By blurring the line between a gun and a digital file, Wilson had also successfully blurred the lines between the Second Amendment and the First. ‘If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident,’ Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. ‘So what if this code is a gun?’ ”

Washington Post: “Meet the man who might have brought on the age of ‘downloadable guns’ ” — “During the summer of 2012, Cody Wilson hung around J&J, a car-repair shop run by two “goofy” guys in their late 20s. The Austin warehouse was crowded with engine blocks, car parts and Pelican boxes that never seemed to have been opened, but the 24-year-old came as he pleased, with access to shop machinery. He had spent the larger part of his second year at the University of Texas Law School learning how to operate a 3D printer. Familiar with the robust gun culture of the South from his Boy Scout years in Arkansas, he soon began to wonder whether he could create the first fully 3D-printed, functional firearm.”

TechCrunch: “3D printed guns are now legal… What’s next?” — “On Tuesday, July 10, the DOJ announced a landmark settlement with Austin-based Defense Distributed, a controversial startup led by a young, charismatic anarchist whom Wired once named one of the 15 most dangerous people in the world.”

Thanks to a landmark legal settlement, we’re in a new era of do-it-yourself guns. Just download the code, and with a 3D printer, produce your own weapon of choice, from a .38-caliber handgun, to an AR-15 assault rifle. Proponents say this isn’t just about Second Amendment rights; it’s about the First Amendment — the right to share information, including the codes to make guns.

This hour, On Point: downloadable guns for everybody and a major challenge to gun control.

— Anthony Brooks

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