This is an update to Defense Distributed’s ongoing progress with 3D printed weapons.Â
The eyes of the world are on the innovation ofÂ 3D printing. Naturally, whenever a new technology is created that offers open source DIY opportunities to the average individual, it is going to make governments and their protected corporate interests very nervous.
Such is the case with 3D weapons manufacturing. Defense Distributed has been offering sets of computer files for free through theirÂ DEFCAD online library. Their progress is documented below in a series of video updates the company has posted.
Following on the heels of their homage to gun control advocates such as Andrew Cuomo and Dianne Feinstein, the ATF has grantedÂ Defense Distributed the Type 7 Federal Firearms License that the company had been seeking over the last 6 months. However, there is one more step before they will be able to go full throttle:
Wilson will notÂ actuallyÂ be able to manufacture and sell guns until he receives a Class 2 Special Occupational Taxpayer add-on to his FFL. (Source)
As you will read below, the corporate media has begun to focus on Defense Distributed’s founder Cody Wilson and his political views and statements in what could be the start of a serious campaign of demonization.
Wilson explains toÂ ArsTechnicaÂ what the newly obtained Type 7 License enables him to do:
âThe big thing it allows me to do is that it makes me [a manufacturer] under the lawâeverything that manufacturers are allowed to do,â he told Ars. âI can sell some of the pieces that we’ve been making. I can do firearms transactions and transport.â
Ars details the next step in the licensing process that will propel Defense Distributed into full-fledged manufacturing and sales, even for automatic weapons:
Currently, Wilson said he will not actually begin manufacturing and selling guns until he receives an âadd-onâ to his FFL, known as aÂ Class 2 Special Occupational TaxpayerÂ (SOT), as licensed underÂ federal lawÂ (PDF). This would allow him to manufacture and deal a broader range of firearms under theÂ National Firearms Act. The Class 2 SOT would grant Wilson the ability to manufacture, for example, a fully-automatic rifle. Wilson applied for the SOT on Saturday and expects to receive approval within a few weeks.
However, some of Cody Wilson’s previous statements, which can be read below, were directed toward specific politicians, including his brash guarantee of success in thwarting any and all gun control measures by stating “good f—ing luck.” In so doing, he seems to have drawn some ire from the mainstream media.
The implication appearing to be that 3D weapons manufacturing is not to be included in that list ofÂ beneficentÂ uses. It remains to be seen if other mainstream outlets will follow suit and make 3D weapons out to be the next great threat to freedom, rather than one of the cornerstones of preserving it.
The latest from Defense Distributed is in honor of gun-control proponent, Dianne Feinstein. Founder of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson, states his reasoning for offering their latest creation:
âWe want to commemorate a personal failure of Feinsteinâs to take away semi-automatic weapons,â Wilson, who is also a law student in Austin, Texas, told The Huffington Post. (Source)
The ongoing homage to the futility of full gun-control follows an earlier AR-15 magazine called the “Cuomo.”
Defense Distributed has consistently lashed out at attempts to offer legislation to ban 3D weapons printing, such as that of New York Congressman, Steve Israel. Congressman Israel has sought toÂ criminalize 3D weapons, to which Cody Wilson responded succinctly, “good f***ing luck”. Their latest video offers evidence that efforts are moving forward…
The early media attention resulted in Wikiweapon companyÂ Stratasys, Inc.Â seizing Defense Distributed’s equipment and taking issue with their decentralized methods. But the genie is already out of the bottle — downloads have topped 500,000. After some initial stutter-stepping with structural failures, their latest incarnations heralds the arrival of 3D printed semi-automatic and automatic weapons.
Ars Technica explains the short history of Cody Wilson’s non-profit gun manufacturing program:
Last year, his group famously demonstrated that it could use a 3D-printed âlowerâ for anÂ AR-15Â semi-automatic rifleâbut the gunÂ failedÂ after six rounds. Now, after some re-tooling, Defense Distributed has shown that it has fixed the design flaws and a gun using its lower can seemingly fire for quite a while. (The AR-15 is the civilian version of the militaryÂ M16Â rifle.) [Source]
The results can be seen in part 3 of their ongoing video series chronicling their development and improvement. Over 600 rounds of .223 ammunition are fired without fail using a 3D-printed “lower” for an AR-15, with Wilson stating that it likely could have gone to 1,000.
The ability for anyone to print a weapon could be one of the cornerstones for widespread freedom and resistance to top-down tyranny. Lawmakers such as Steve Israel have stated that any restrictions on 3D printing of weapons will be very difficult if not impossible to enforce, and the Justice Department has so far backed up their legality. As Tony Cartalucci has stated, itÂ renders gun control moot; one would have to basically ban any personal use of 3D printers.
Preventing people from manufacturing guns, or worse yet, from possessing or using tools that can be used to create guns, is both ludicrous and impossible. Like with cars or anything else, laws are there to ensure we don’t harm others by abusing any given right or implement – not preventing us from having those rights or implements responsibly in the first place.
As the cost of production goes down, and states continue to assert their inherent rights to govern without federal interference, there will likely be a wave of non-profit and for-profit manufacturers alike, as Wilson states:
The law student said that anyone with the same type of 3D printer (âSLA resinÂ andÂ P400 ABSÂ on a usedÂ Dimensionâ) could replicate his efforts with â9 to 12 hoursâ of print time and â$150 to $200â in parts. “Weâve proven that you can build one for $50,â he said, presuming the builder is using lower quality materials. (DimensionsÂ typically sell in the $30,000 rangeâbut Wilson says his results could be duplicated using the less-expensiveÂ UltimakerÂ ($1,500) orÂ Reprap.â
With the ability for anyone, anywhere to be able to defend oneself and mobilize quickly against a growing threat, governments would have to think twice before heading down the road to tyranny. Certainly the government itself has signed on to 3D manufacturing. As reported byÂ The Singularity Hub, the Army is deploying $2.8 million fabrication labs to the frontlines as part of an overall 3-year contract withÂ Exponent, Inc. worth $9.7 million. The intention is to make this global.
While this video focuses on other aspects of 3D printing, and injects the well-worn marketing line that all of this will save lives in humanitarian efforts, to think this will not be used to produce guns and evenÂ dronesÂ would be naive, since Stratasys — the manufacturer that gave Defense Distributed such a hard time — is fully signed onÂ to assist the military-industrial complex.
However, it appears that the everyday consumer (taxpayer) will not have to wait for military tech to trickle down to offer its scraps; the benefits of 3D printing are taking on a life of their own with or without government approval.