This is absurd. Over the past month, the United States hasn’t been able to go a full week without a devastating public shooting — but we still have stuff like this rising from the collective woodwork.
Meet Cody Wilson, a University of Texas Law student and founder of Wiki Weapon, a new venture aiming to merge the growing popularity of 3D printers, the internet age, and deadly weaponry.
Step right up, get your cheap, do-it-yourself gun right here. And while you’re at it, why don’t you just shoot me in the face, too….
I like the way Adam Clark Estes at Vice’s Motherboard blog sums up the story:
The 3D-printing gun enthusiasts are at it again coming up with master plans to democratize weapons manufacturing, and this time, they’re doing it in the name of the First Amendment. That’s right. The Second Amendment is important too, but according to the visionaries at the loosely organized advocacy group Defense Distributed, this mission is all about freedom of information. They’re calling it the “Wiki Weapon Project”. The ultimate goal: create a deadly 3D-printed handgun that anybody can assemble in the comfort of their own home.
The Defense Distributed website has this video on the home page and it provides an insight into Wilson’s motivation:
Andy Greenberg of Forbes also spoke to Wilson:
“We want to show this principle: That a handgun is printable,” says Wilson, a 24-year-old second-year law student at the University of Texas. “You don’t need to be able to put 200 rounds through it… It only has to fire once. But even if the design is a little unworkable, it doesn’t matter, as long as it has that guarantee of lethality.”
And it seems that these guns would have that “guarantee of lethality,” according to Forbes:
If all goes according to plan, the thousands of owners of those cheap 3D printers, which extrude thin threads of melted plastic into layers that add up to precisely-shaped three-dimensional objects, will be able to turn the project’s CAD designs into an operational gun capable of firing a standard .22 caliber bullet, all in the privacy of their own garage.
Check out the website of Defense Distributed. It’s even got a “manifesto.” I imagine, depending on a person’s general political stripes, responses will range from, “Awesome! How innovative and anti-tyrannical!” to “OMFG, this is terrifying.”
Because of course! What would I do with myself if I never learned whether 3D printers (which are really freakin’ cool), normally used for making jewelry or sunglasses and things not designed for killing, could also spit out rifles.
Wilson and Co. justify their project via bizarre First Amendmendment-ish logic that seems to connect the concept of file-sharing and the open-source ethos with the ability to make your own gun:
Guns prove out some of our younger generations’ beliefs about information and sharing at an extremity. If we truly believe information should be free, that the internet is the last bastion of freedom and knowledge, and that societies that share are superior to societies that censor and withhold, then why not guns?
The firearm has pride of place in underlining an individual’s significance as a moral agent.
Frankly, it makes no sense to me. And timing-wise, the group’s recent unveiling feels in particularly poor taste after the recent, high-profile shootings across America. But when the group inevitably moves forward with their project, I want to beg them: Please. Don’t. Be. Stupid.