Self-described crypto-anarchist and Defense Distributed founder and director Cody Wilson has created technology that could upend the gun control conversation utterly.
Wilson, 29, is fast making global access to unserialized, and therefore untraceable, firearms at the click of a button a reality with projects like the 3D printed gun and a computer-controlled milling machine called the Ghost Gunner. Proliferation of such technology could eventually render current gun control measures, like background checks, waiting periods, or even bans, obsolete.
The Arkansas native, listed as one of the "15 most dangerous men in the world," first burst onto the scene in 2013. Wilson, then a law student with no engineering experience, created technology which allowed for the downloading and 3D printing of the first untraceable plastic gun dubbed "the Liberator" — a so-called "Wiki Weapon."
Wilson says that he is not some gun enthusiast looking to mainstream his hobby, but rather is open about his contempt for the government and his pro-anarchy and anti-state agenda.
"I always thought of it as WikiLeaks for guns," Wilson told The Daily Wire of his original intent. "We were gripped by the possibility of the internet and the politics of it all. We went for the gun, because, okay, that’s a very significant political movement, and we developed the vocabulary and all the rhetoric as we went … eventually locating it in a strand of libertarian philosophy."
Adhering to Defense Distributed’s ethos and seemingly engineering a sought-after conflict with the federal government, the millennial dropped his blueprints online at his site DEFCAD.org for the world’s free access.
The move indeed triggered the federal government to act over what they deemed national security concerns. Wilson is still fighting the State Department in a multi-year lawsuit on First Amendment grounds after he was forced to remove such software from the internet.
In the meantime, the diligent anarchist has advanced his lucrative technology into what he calls the Ghost Gunner: a miniature computer-controlled milling machine costing around $1,600 that produces untraceable metal pistols and rifles "in the comfort and privacy of home."
What’s regulated by the federal government is the receiver of the pistol. If you’re making your own gun via 3D printer or the Ghost Gunner, no serial number is required, thus evading detection from the government. This also means legislative background checks and waiting periods would be rendered useless.
"With simple tools and point and click software, the machine automatically finds and aligns to your 80% lower to get to work," boasts Wilson’s site. "No prior CNC knowledge or experience is required to manufacture from design files. Legally manufacture unserialized rifles and pistols in the comfort and privacy of home."
As with 3D printed guns, Wilson told The Daily Wire that the Ghost Gunner can’t be regulated in any meaningful way.
"Since I released the software on open-source licenses, that means it’s essentially in the public domain, in the commons, and so, it makes its way to the internet and there’s nothing anyone can do about that," he explained.
"And the machines themselves, you think, well, how does the government regulate it? It’s a bit too late," Wilson said, adding that he’s already "done the work and gone to the Commerce Department."
"It’s just as regulated as a hammer — so good luck, there’s nothing you can do," he said. "It’s just a mill. It’s agnostic. It’s not like it’s specially designed for gun stuff, it’s just that we also write gun software for this mill that we make. So, by breaking up these components, there’s no way of getting in-between any of it and stopping it from proliferating."
"Gun control, for us, is a fantasy," Wilson declared during a breakout 2013 Vice documentary. “In a way that people say, ‘You’re being unrealistic about printing a gun.’ I think it’s more unrealistic now, especially going forward, to think you could ever control this technology."
The millennial elaborated on this idea when asked by The Daily Wire about political pundits invoking his software to expose the ineffectiveness of proposed gun control efforts. "People just throw up their hands and say, ‘What are you going to do, people can print them.’ And, there it is: that’s the agony of the concept. It’s so obvious that they don’t even try to do anything," he said.
In the same flavor, Wilson also mentioned the recent relaxation of export restrictions from the Trump Administration: "Among their justifications was, 'Look, the AR-15, you could just 3D print the damn thing. We need to stop regulating this.'"
In yet another example, politicos have ramped-up the idea of banning bump stocks in response to the tragic Las Vegas massacre, while the technology already exists on the internet to 3D print such a device. In fact, people are openly showing off effective 3D printed bump stocks in posted online videos.
Aside from the massive move by the feds to curb his gun software, Wilson says he’s constantly being dropped by bank and credit partners.
"I go through banks like bad relationships," he joked. "I am constantly getting new merchant relationships. Actually, that’s all I really am. I’m just an over-glorified middle-manager who meets with banking and credit partners. I live a fantastically unromantic life. I fill out lots of paperwork and understand credit and insurance applications better than people who went to school for it. And it’s because of the regulatory landscape, but also because the government takes an active interest in what financial institutions do with these types of considered high-risk industries, and guns and gambling are among them."
"Obama and Holder were really, really clamping down," added Wilson, talking about what’s referred to as "Operation Choke Point."
"And that’s just from the cultural point of view," he continued, noting that he’s sometimes subpoenaed by DHS, ATF, and the Secret Service.
"The FBI came into my office the other day, just sayin’ what’s up," he added.
"They want to stop you from the maximum outcomes, but they let so much sand slip through their fingers when they try to get to the concreteness of grappling with you. I’ve done so much more since they’ve started opposing me than I probably would have done if they didn’t," said Wilson.