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3D Printed Gun Maker Cody Wilson Defends Open Source Freedom 354

Posted by timothy
from the comfortable-truths-aren't-the-ones-to-worry-about dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes "Cody Wilson, the 26-year-old former law school student who published plans for printing 3D guns online, disputed claims by universities and government agencies that his thermoplastic gun design is unsafe. Wilson claims the agencies that tested the guns did not build them to spec. In a Q&A with Computerworld, he also addressed why he's continuing to press regulatory agencies to allow him to offer the plans again for upload after being ordered to take them down, saying it's less about the Second Amendment and more about the implications of open source and the digital age. "If you want to talk about rights, what does it mean to respect a civil liberty or civil right? Well, it means you understand there are social costs in having that right; that's why it deserves protection in the first place," he said. Wilson is also planning to release other gun-related project, though not necessarily a CAD design."
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3D Printed Gun Maker Cody Wilson Defends Open Source Freedom

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  • Who Cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sycodon (149926) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @10:43AM (#47155959)

    A first gen product using revolutionary technology and people are whining about it being unsafe? It's like complaining that the Model T didn't have airbags.

    I think they are missing the point entirely. 3D printing will only become more sophisticated, using stronger materials and will be faster. People will be able to manufacture devices that are currently controlled or are so specialized that it hasn't occurred to the Feds to control them.

    This is not about a plastic guns, this is about a paradigm shift that is no less momentous than VHS and later MP3s.

    • by Threni (635302)

      > This is not about a plastic guns, this is about a paradigm shift that is no less
      > momentous than VHS and later MP3s.

      No, it's about guns. Nobody's talking about other 3d printed objects yet.

    • Re:Who Cares? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by oh_my_080980980 (773867) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @10:50AM (#47156051)
      Which has nothing to do with using a 3-D printer to make a gun. No one is outlawing the use of a 3-D printer. However, they are restricting the use of a 3-D printer to make guns. Thanks for missing the point.
      • Re:Who Cares? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @11:04AM (#47156213)

        I can legally use tools in my home metal shop to make a firearm. Why should this be different?

      • Lets move the goalposts a little bit.

        Should DNA sequencers contain hashes of the DNA of virulent organisms so they can call the NSA/CIA/SAS/UN/boy scouts when they are being used for possible bioweapon related work? (Hopefully they don't rain hellfires on the CDC.)

        Should CNC mills pop up 'It appears you are milling a rifle receiver...' whenever some pattern recognition software sees what it thinks is a rifle part.

        These are both real world things, at least theoretically do-able today. I'd go with yes

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          DNA hashes on the organism level would be almost useless unless you were only guarding against casual creation of dangerous pathogens - change a few base pairs and the hash no longer matches, while making no substantial changes to the organism - there's far more variation than that just within the species (and species is a poorly-defined concept for virii and bacteria to begin with). At best you could match certain characteristic sub-sequence "fingerprints", but as we come to understand just how robust DNA

      • However, they are restricting the use of a 3-D printer to make guns.

        Nobody has any right to restrict how I use my printer, whether it's guns or even counterfeit money. You have to wait until I use either to commit a crime. Prior restraint is evil. Here's hoping the tech will make enforcement impossible. We should be controlling the authorities, not the other way around.

    • Is gun, Comrade. Is not safe.
    • by westlake (615356)

      A first gen product using revolutionary technology and people are whining about it being unsafe? It's like complaining that the Model T didn't have airbags.

      In concept and engineering the Ford Model T was without a doubt a more mature and sophisticated invention, more practical and more trustworthy, than your 3D printed plastic gun.

      Henry Ford said of the vehicle:

      ''I will build a car for the great multitude. It will be large enough for the family, but small enough for the individual to run and care for. It will be constructed of the best materials, by the best men to be hired, after the simplest designs that modern engineering can devise. But it will be so low in price that no man making a good salary will be unable to own one --- and enjoy with his family the blessing of hours of pleasure in God's great open spaces.''

      The Model T was (intentionally) almost as much a tractor and portable engine as it was an automobile. It has always been well regarded for its all-terrain abilities and ruggedness. It could travel a rocky, muddy farm lane, ford a shallow stream, climb a steep hill, and be parked on the other side to have one of its wheels removed and a pulley fastened to the hub for a flat belt to drive a bucksaw, thresher, silo blower, conveyor for filling corn cribs or haylofts, baler, water pump (for wells, mines, or swampy farm fields), electrical generator, and countless other applications. One unique application of the Model T was shown in the October 1922 issue of Fordson Farmer magazine. It showed a minister who had transformed his Model T into a mobile church, complete with small organ.

      Standard Oil built its monopoly on the simple premise that when your wife touched a match to the wick of a kerosene lantern you should not be widowed in an explosion.

      The Edison Labs invented the first commercially viable incandescent lamps that could be wired in parallel --- and went on to devise wiring standards, switches, fuse

  • Can the social costs outweigh the right or privilege? Do other countries where there is broad acceptance of restrictions on gun ownership, such as the UK, have any right 'not to hear' this free information?

    Has any analysis been done as to the feasibility of the oppressed in obtaining suitable 3d printers and the 'correct' material for printing, then using these weapons to defeat their oppressor versus the ability of criminals to do likewise and use the weapons in the pursuit of their crimes?

    • by RevDisk (740008)
      What other countries do or do not do should not be the basis of American law. Constutional rights have one of three levels of protection. Might as well think of them as high, medium and low.

      Strict scrutiny is the most stringent standard of judicial review, so highly protected. Example: race-based classifications.
      Intermediate scrutiny requires the government to have a very important interest in infringing upon said right, medium. Examples: free speech, equal protection
      Rational basis review is the bare m
    • Mod parent post up.

      The impact to USA society of the ability to make a gun in the privacy of your own home is piddly compared to the impact this technology will have in several other societies.

      Here is a newly articulated rule that is proven by several thousand years of history:

      The Luddites never win.

      Gun control is a product of Luddite thinking. There are other ways of dealing with the crazies who go on rampages, and the criminals who use guns in their crimes. Work out how to handle those bad behaviors r

  • Irresponsible (Score:2, Insightful)

    This is not what the world needs - i.e. an easy way to make an unregulated *weapon* - i.e. an object designed to kill. This is not about open source, or anything else that Cody Wilson claims; it's about the *result* of his actions id these his designs are used to proliferate more *weapons*. America already experiences 33-35,000 gun deaths every year. America is FOURTH in gun deaths, worldwide - after Thailand, Colombia and Nigeria.Isn't that enough? Do we want to make guns even easier to obtain?

    Project fo

    • by sycodon (149926)

      You are arguing that the Printing Press should be made illegal instead of making Libel a tortious act.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        No, I am arguing that the spread of killing weapons is unhealthy and unsafe - and violates the rights of Americans who have been killed by said weapons.
        • by pedrop357 (681672) *

          The person shooting them is violating their rights, that is who needs to be held accountable.

          My right to possess a gun doesn't go away because SOMEONE ELSE might use a gun to violate someone's right not to be shot.

          • by gfxguy (98788)

            Good point... one that people often fail to grasp. I support decriminalization of all drugs... yes, ALL drugs, as the individual should have the right to do with their body what they want. The most common come-back I hear is "so then it's OK for them to kill you for money to support their habit?"

            Uh... no, it's not OK. Only a moron could conclude that.

            I support the decriminalization of prostitution. The most common come-back I hear is "so then it's OK for a pimp to essentially force a woman to sell her b

            • Re:Irresponsible (Score:4, Insightful)

              by flyingsquid (813711) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @12:12PM (#47157221)

              Guns are tools, used for entertainment, sport, self defense... as soon as someone uses one to violate your rights, you can go ahead and execute them, as far as I'm concerned. But get rid of the person that violated your rights... "things" don't violate your rights, only other people do.

              Taken to the logical extreme, the "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument says any sort of gun control is illogical. Fully automatic AK-47s don't kill people, people kill people! Browning .50 caliber machine guns don't kill people, people kill people! Hand grenades don't kill people, people kill people! A plutonium implosion weapon doesn't kill people, people kill people! Ownership of a nuclear bomb doesn't violate people's rights, so we shouldn't restrict ownership of fissile material. Of course, if someone were to detonate a 20 kiloton weapon in a school and kill all the schoolchildren, and incinerate everyone for miles around, well should throw the book at them. But let's not get all crazy and talk about putting restrictions on enriched uranium. The fissile material, explosive lenses and triggers are just a tool, it's what people decide to do with it that matters, right?

              The reason that argument sounds insane because it IS insane. Except for failed states like Somalia and Afghanistan, EVERY state accepts some limitations on the kinds of weapons that people can carry, the only difference is that some states apply more restrictions than others. The U.S. gun control laws are far more lax than in the UK, Australia, or Canada, but we have them- you can't just buy a machine gun. This always seems to get forgotten in discussions about gun control: gun control is already in existence, the only question is whether we need less, more, or to keep things the same. The US, UK, Australia and Canada all agree that some weapons are too dangerous to let people run around with, we just disagree about where to draw the line. Given that the US has an endless series of mass killings, and the other countries don't, it's not hard to see who made the right call.

              • by gfxguy (98788)

                I didn't say they shouldn't be regulated at all.... and far from a "logical" extreme, you've reached reductio ad absurdum in very short order.

              • Of course every state "accepts some limitations" on weapons -- armed people are a threat to tyrannical governments and states in general, and this fact is entirely a result of one's self-preservation, whether good or not. (And a tyrannical government is most certainly not good.)

                We won the American Revolution because the general population was armed as well as or better than the British military. The Second Amendment isn't there for hunting, it exists explicitly to protect your right to shoot at the governme

    • blah blah blah... You're trying to stop the wind. He's entirely right. This is something that's coming like a freight train and there's no stopping it. I've built guns, from scratch, for years. It's not even remotely difficult. What he's made with his thousand dollar 3D printer you could make by spending $10 at home depot on some pipe fittings and nails. Want it undetectable so you can take it on a plane? Drill a hole in a piece of oak, use a piece of graphite or other semi-hard substance for the firing pin

    • I still don't see the explanation on how a 3D printed plastic gun is worse than a plastic gun developed by other means. If you want to outlaw a type of gun, just do it. It is monumentally stupid to try to outlaw every manufacturing method that comes along, as it will always be a chase.

      For instance. When does a 3d model of a gun become an illegal one? A basic outline? A general but unproven design? Or does it have to be a complete design proven to actually work, with all the detailed instructions for post
      • You're right, we shouldn't be panicking about the idea that people can print out guns. We should be panicking at the thought that people can easily buy precision-made, high quality and relatively inexpensive semiautomatic pistols and assault rifles. Makerbot isn't the problem, the problem is Glock and Colt.
    • by RevDisk (740008)
      You do realize that there are basically schematics for virtually every firearm in history available? Around here, we have people that make historic weapons using historic tools (ie essentially blacksmith shops). You could easily build highly lethal firearms with a load of charcoal, some decent wood and a pile of iron. It doesn't require that much skill either.

      Before you say "So What?", this is still done every day in the Khyber Pass. Weapons are made using extremely primitive means. It's actually unnerv
    • Actually, you're not counting wars, which are gun deaths. Nor are you counting the millions who died after the right to arm themselves was taken away, by the government who's purpose was to protect those very lives, often by means of a bullet.

      Name one dictator that allowed the citizens to keep and bear arms. Just one! Should be easy! The one thing they all have in common, is restricted guns to government agents. Germany, Russia/USSR, Cuba, China ..... Millions of dead civilians.

      BTW, you're not anti gun, you

  • I am not entirely sure what the poster means by "Open Source Freedom." I'm sure there's a serious discussion to be had there, but my first reaction was "Freedom is Not Free (as in beer)."
  • by dbc (135354) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @11:31AM (#47156603)

    Look people, this is NOT a 2A issue, this is a 1A issue. When does censorship stop? Why can't gun plans be published?

    What if after some future election it became illegal to publish plans for IUD contra-ceptives without a licence after some person posts plans for a 3D printed one. Then for a research physician to get published in a medical journal he'd need permission from the government. How about that? How is that different?

    How would you feel about needing to obtain a goverenemt license to publish anything about crytographic code? Where would that stop? Could you teach your kids how to make a Ceasar cipher, or would you go to jail for that under a national security gag-order.

    He is publishing plans. This is a 1A issue.

    • That's right, and SCOTUS will put a stop to it, just like they did about shouting "fire!" in a theater. There are limits to so-called "free speech".
    • Look people, this is NOT a 2A issue, this is a 1A issue. When does censorship stop? Why can't gun plans be published?

      This may be a first amendment issue, or perhaps it is a second amendment issue, but that will be up to a court to decide. What you fail to understand is that like many Americans (I am American too, so I"m allowed to say that), you think that all rights are absolute but they are not. Even Justice Scalia, who is as conservative as they come on the Supreme Court, pointed out in a gun ruling that the Supreme Court wasn't saying that there couldn't be any restrictions on guns just because the second amendment

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @01:13PM (#47157997) Homepage

    This is just someone who wants attention. Guns with plastic barrels are junk, worse even than low-end Saturday Night Specials. You can get a cheap gun for under $100 [gunbroker.com] in the US. (Yes, the Raven is a crappy gun, but it's still better than anything made on an extruder-type 3D printer.)

    This is not the cutting edge of weapons design. Guns with aimbots. [tracking-point.com] are the cutting edge. Right now, they're expensive, around $10K, but they will get cheaper.

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