BY JG VIBES
Defense Distributed, a new company that planned to help average people create firearms at home with 3D printers has had their equipment seized by the manufacture after news of their controversial project was picked up by the media. In an email that Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed received from “Stratasys” the manufacture, he was told that his primary project, Wikiweapon was illegal. A day later contractors hired by the company arrived at Wilson’s apartment in an Enterprise rental van and took the printer, which apparently hadn’t even been taken out of the box yet.
There are many technologies that are beginning to emerge in the consumer market that have the potential to radically disrupt the status quo and shift the power balance on this earth in favor of the general population. 3D printers are one of the first of these devises that come to mind, with the ability to mold any 3 dimensional object from a precise computer graphic. So far, this technology has been used to replace bones and body parts in people, creating exoskeletons for children with congenital illnesses in order to help them walk, and it is even said that someday people will have the ability to print working human organs through cheap home devices.
If given the ability to flourish and develop in every way possible, the millions of people who end up using this technology will be able to create amazing things that could reshape this world for the better in a short amount of time. However, as always the one thing that stands in the way of this achievement is the monopolists of the state, and their violently imposed restrictions on freely interacting individuals.
This has been the debate about 3D printer technology in the past year as Wikiweapon began to grow in popularity and gather press recognition. Wikiweapon was a project that intended to share open-source blueprints for 3-D printed guns, allowing anyone with the right equipment to manufacture a firearm from their home. In fact, this project merely planned to accomplish what is already possible, just on a larger scale. There have actually been people who have printed working, firing guns from a 3D printer. In June, Michael “HaveBlue” Guslick reported on his blog about successfully test-firing a homemade gun whose key component, the lower receiver, he made from ABS plastic on a ’90s-era Stratasys FDM 1600 3D printer.
Since this story came out there has been a mixture of excitement and hysteria in reaction, with gun control lobbyists already churning out the propaganda about this new technology that they see as a threat, because it has the potential to undermine every government regulation that you can possibly think of, if it was able to flourish of course. Sadly, as we are seeing with this recent power move made to prevent this project from going forward, creating an open path for this technology to flourish is going to be a long and difficult battle.
For Defense Distributed and the Wikiweapon project, it already has been a long and difficult battle. This is not the first time that they have had the plug pulled on their operation.The project also faced difficulties in late August, when IndieGogo shut down the project’s campaign, citing a terms of service violation regarding the sale of firearms. Unphased, the group turned to Bitcoin and raised $20,000 to rent the Stratasys 3D printer which was ultimately taken back.
There is good news though, the creators of this project are determined to fight the power and do all of the difficult legwork to make it easier for people in the future to freely use this kind of technology. After his printer was seized Wilson told Wired that: “We want everyone else to not have to do these things, so fine, we’ll do them, we’ll fool around with it, we’ll pay the thousands of dollars per year, It’s just disgusting. I hate that that’s the way it is, but that’s apparently the regulatory landscape.”