As the face of DIY guns (and DIY on the cheap), Cody Wilson may be the original bad boy of 3D printing–and many are worried all his defiant bravado–as well as his designs–may catch the attention of the really bad guys capable of inflicting serious damage and taking casualties in more terrorist attacks.
As the founder of Defense Distributed and the creator of the design for the 3D printed Liberator pistol in 2013, Wilson has stirred up controversy again as he discusses the impending release of new and what would seem to be even more dangerous weapons, to be made for a shockingly low price.
Responding to press questions regarding accessibility for terrorists with a ‘don’t really care’ attitude may seem cool to Wilson as he’s reacting to a press question in the moment, but one would hope that this presumably intelligent human being (emphasis on human) might consider that if and when one of his designs does become a favorite of a terrorist organization or is actually found to be responsible for just one or a number of deaths–how is he going to feel about having his name associated with that particular and possibly gruesome entry in a history book?
While many of us are just plain sick of the gun story, it’s not going away. We all know that. And officials in every country see it as their responsibility to try and fight many new designs and new issues that someone like Wilson brings to the forefront, especially as threats of terrorism surface constantly.
3D weapons are making their entrance in busts here and there, along with 3D printed items, to include a case in Australia just recently where a 3D printed pistol of unknown design was actually found on the scene at a meth lab that had been abandoned shortly before a bust. Wilson’s design for the Ghost Gunner was also presumably found hard at work printing materials when San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department in California busted a crime ring last spring. None of this bodes well for making the 3D printing of guns look attractive to those on the other side of the gun lobby. And while Wilson’s ire certainly makes for press, he’s not exactly looking like an American hero.
Wilson does keeps the momentum going, however, and now, to press the limits further, he wants to hand anyone interested the chance to build an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Obviously not working on keeping a low profile, even while the going is a bit tough for him legally, Wilson has decided to yes, work on releasing the digital details for his machine gun by April. And to sweeten the pot, Wilson states that this new gun can be built with materials at a cost of under $150 USD on a printer that will set you back around $21,000. While that might sound out of reach for an enthusiast, it’s obviously mere pennies for organized terrorists. Not surprisingly, outcry is building already–and especially in the UK where they are heavily concerned about more ISIS threat on their soil as well as that of Europe and everywhere else.
“This is making terrorists’ jobs so much easier,” says counter-terror expert Hamish de Bretton Gordon, who is a former British intelligence officer. “Particularly in the UK where security services are putting in so much effort to prevent an attack by one of IS’s ‘clean skins.’
“The person who is releasing this is completely irresponsible. We can only hope the authorities in the US are going to deal with this individual. It’s absolutely crazy.”
Security measures come into play with a new type of materials such as plastic.
“This is a bizarre and dangerous proposal. A plastic machine gun could go unnoticed by airport security, putting the travelling public at risk of terrorist attack,” says UK Shadow Police Minister Jack Dromey.
Wilson has stated that he does basically have a 3D printable machine gun, going so far as to include that everything one would need to make it print is available from a hardware store. All that needs to be added is a firing pin–and a basic nail could be used for that.
“I promise you the reason you haven’t seen this yet is because it has been artificially delayed. I would have demonstrated this for you if I was allowed to,” says Wilson. “‘I am fighting my fight with the government but we have a whole new range of things.’
“You can’t print a good slug or a firing pin yet because the material is not dense enough. So we just said use commonly available things,” says Wilson.
His viewpoint on whether or not terrorists can or will use his designs is very basic as he points out that they can also go to the library and figure out how to make a bomb. While true, that’s much different from providing files and pointing the way–affordably.
Obviously, with recent terrorist events filling citizens around the world with horror, the debate over whether individuals should begin stockpiling weapons to protect themselves or whether the government should crack down and ‘stop the killing,’ is a hot point. And Hamish de Bretton Gordon has a valid point regarding Wilson–but the US certainly may not be able to squelch Wilson’s every design–or move. It’s also a fact of the matter that terrorists are already, of course, well aware of their options when it comes to technology and weapons. What are your thoughts on these 3D printed weapons? Discuss in the Cody Wilson to Release 3D Printed Machine Gun forum over at 3DPB.com.