Distributor of plans for 3D-printed guns puts his product back in circulation

Cody Wilson, the self-described crypto-anarchist who on Monday was blocked from distributing schematics for 3D-printed guns online, is making good on his promise for “one hell of a week.”

Exploiting what Wilson says is a loophole in the judge’s injunction against the distribution of the plans for how to print a firearm using 3D printers, Wilson has replaced the “download” option for the schematics on his website with an option to purchase.

At a news conference in Texas, Wilson said he had begun selling the plans on Tuesday morning and had already received nearly 400 orders, according to a report by The Associated Press.

“Anyone who wants to get these files is going to get them,” the AP quoted Wilson. “They can name their own price.”

By selling the schematics and distributing them via email or secure digital download, it looks like Wilson may just skirt the judge’s injunction on the distribution of the plans.

As Vice noted in its report on Wilson’s plans, the judge who issued the ruling wrote that, “Regulation under [The Arms Export Control Act] means that the files cannot be uploaded to the internet… But they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States.”

The Arms Export Control Act is the original statute that the State Department cited when it first demanded that Wilson pull his blueprints. Then, in 2015, Wilson counter-sued the State Department claiming that his First Amendment free speech rights had been violated by the State Department order.

After several years of litigation, the government blinked and, earlier this year, settled with Wilson — acceding to the argument that he had a First Amendment right to distribute the plans.

However, in a Monday ruling, Judge Robert S. Lasnik of the Federal District Court in Seattle ruled in favor of attorneys general from Washington, D.C. and 19 states who argued that the distribution of 3D-printed guns posed a threat to national safety.

The judge wrote that any First Amendment arguments and issues “are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the states are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, over all, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation.”

That ruling extends a July 31 temporary restraining order on distribution of the files until the case brought by the attorneys general is settled.

By distributing the plans for the 3D-printed weapons, Wilson runs the risk of being held in contempt of court — something that the anarchist appears to relish.

Importantly, the plans have already made their way onto other platforms. Earlier this week, a book that compiled all of the schematics in one bound edition was being sold on Amazon. The online retailer took it down.

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