As gun control falters in Congress we will examine how and why it happened. What the polls said about it and what predictors there were that signaled it’s ultimate demise. President Obama will stand in front of the steps of the White House and attempt to rally what support there is left, but it might be too little, too late. Survivors and those directly impacted by mass shootings sat and watched as the amendment to expand gun control failed, and when it finally did they shouted, “Shame on you.” For many, yesterday was a shameful day, a day where big lobbyists and misinformation ruled and commonsense failed. Not for one person, not for Cody Wilson. The 25-year-old law student and founder of Defense Distributed likely viewed it as a blow to the gun control he so vehemently abhors.
Wilson prints guns, not entire guns, just the lower receivers on AR-15s. The receiver is the component that houses most of the essential working components of a weapon. Wilson uses 3D-printers to accomplish this task. He’s been at it steadily for a while, Defense Distributed first attempt resulted in only six rounds being fired before the gun failed. Since then, Wilson and his team have improved significantly. In the video below you will see the AR-15 firing 600 rounds, a definite improvement.
In an “Ask me Anything” on the website Reddit on March 28, Wilson answered hundreds of questions from Redditors. His answers are what you might expect from a self-involved 25-year-old. He believes ardently in the religion of his own intellect. Cody Wilson wanted to print weapons because he wants to put an end to gun control completely. “The ambition was to kill the spirit of gun control entirely.” He went onto discuss the role he believes his company Defense Distributed will play in society.
“I see DefDist as practicing a kind of living “imminent critique,” to borrow from Marcuse. At least a critique of American Constitutionalism. We would all identify as civil libertarians, but Ben and I are more market anarchists. I don’t believe a State as traditionally conceived by political science is necessary for the planning and organization of society going forward. Democratic states especially are failure systems that organize massive human and economic waste, war, and malinvestment. Surely my German compatriots know the problems of political and fiscal union better than I!
I see a future of federal communities and slowly disintegrating and reactionary states. It is imperative to begin using cryptocurrencies and private commerce to starve these beasts.”
It’s not that Wilson isn’t smart—he is—and he knows it. Much like any charismatic political figure, he uses his language to make you believe that his cause is right and just. Wilson would surely deride me from using his name in association with politics, because he self-identifies a crypto-anarchist, but there is no denying the political nature of his cause. The Defense Distributed website says, "The firearm has place of pride in underlining an individual’s significance as a moral agent, Firearm rights are human rights."
Mr. Wilson is inclined to his opinion but the firearm as an agent of morality is dripping in more self-righteousness than I can possibly bear. Guns are inert, they possess no other value aside from that which we ascribe to them. Guns have no moral will, no desire to protect us, guns do not care about your house, your family, or you. Wilson despises members of Congress because they make ubiquitous statements about guns, but he does the same thing. He’s just does not present his statements in a pejorative connotext.
Wilson believes that people are inherently good, that individuals should be allowed to print or at least have access to the ability to print their own weapons. His ultimate mission—he claims—is to tell Congress and the American Government that there’s nothing they can do to stop him, or anyone else from having access to weapons.
My issue is not with 3D-printed weapons nor with 3D-printed anything—as long as people do so safely. The debate on 3D-printed technology is really just starting, but what we do know is that there is no clear way to regulate access to this technology. The government cannot limit what you see on the internet, nor should it be in the business of doing so. This will present obvious challenges to legislators and intellectual property owners in the near future.
The real issue here is that people like Cody Wilson believe—beyond all else—in their own moral impunity. If you really stopped to listen to most gun control advocates, what you would hear is this, no one wants to talk away your guns, no one wants to ban you from having guns. Wilson says that he likes to instill fear in progressives, I find that amusing. Especially as Wilson's entire organizations existence is the result of a reactionary stance he has taken to a perceived threat to something he places far too much stock in.