I think we’re going to see a rapid advancement of 3D printed firearm technology now that Cody Wilson, the crypto-anarchist who is working to develop printable firearms while bypassing potential copyright laws, has a Type 7 Federal Firearms License (FFL):
On Saturday, Defense Distributed—America’s best-known group of 3D gunsmiths—announced on Facebook that its founder, Cody Wilson, now has a federal license to be a gun manufacturer and dealer. The group published a picture of the Type 7 federal firearms license (FFL) to prove it.
“The big thing it allows me to do is that it makes me manufacture under the law—everything that manufacturers are allowed to do,” he told Ars. “I can sell some of the pieces that we’ve been making. I can do firearms transactions and transport.”
Cody isn’t planning to stop with a simple manufacturing license though:
Currently, Wilson said he will not actually begin manufacturing and selling guns until he receives an “add-on” to his FFL, known as a Class 2 Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT), as licensed under federal law (PDF). This would allow him to manufacture and deal a broader range of firearms under the National Firearms Act. The Class 2 SOT would grants 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.
The primary advantage a manufacturing license has in regards to creating printable firearms is that it allows Cody to work on the project openly while legally seeking investors. In other words it keeps the state off of his back for a while. If Cody can build and test printable machine guns the technology of printable firearms in general is likely to advance leaps and bounds very quickly.