A federal judge may have told Defense Distributed that it couldn’t provide its already widely available 3D printer files but the saga hasn’t ended. Since Defense Distributed can no longer provide its files for free, it will sell them on a USB drive:
AUSTIN, Texas—During what he called his first ever press conference, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson announced Tuesday that he would continue to comply with a federal court order forbidding him from internationally publishing CAD files of firearms. Wilson said he would also begin selling copies of his 3D-printed gun files for a “suggested price” of $10 each.
The files, crucially, will be transmitted to customers “on a DD-branded flash drive” in the United States. Wilson also mentioned looking into customer email and secure download links.
Now that the files aren’t leaving the United States, the primary argument being used to censor Defense Distributed is no longer in play.
What I find just as funny as Wilson’s unwillingness to roll over like a good little slave is how he has also become the biggest thorn in the side of gun control advocates seemingly out of nowhere. For decades gun control advocates have focused all of their attention on the National Rifle Association (NRA). While the NRA has acted as the 800 pound gorilla in the room, it has also been an extremely moderate organization. The NRA never pushed anything truly radical. Then along came Cody Wilson. He advocated something truly radical, the complete abolish of the State and by extent gun control. He also showed the world the biggest weakness in the concept of gun control: that guns a mechanically simple devices that can be manufactured with relative ease. While gun control advocates are trying to censor him, he has already done is damage. The world knows that firearms can be easily manufactured. Moreover, the designs for some basic firearms that can be created with a 3D printer have been released to the Internet and are therefore impossible to censor.
I would like to take a moment to say that I really love living in a world where gun control is no longer enforceable:
Gun rights activist groups found a way around the temporary halting of 3D-printed gun blueprints by publishing another set of blueprints on a new website Tuesday, which they say is activity protected under the First Amendment.
“Through CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, we intend to encourage people to consider new and different aspects of our nation’s marketplace of ideas – even if some government officials disagree with our views or dislike our content – because information is code, code is free speech, and free speech is freedom,” reads a statement on the site, which was created by a variety of groups including the Firearms Policy Coalition and the Firearms Policy Foundation.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the phrase, “temporarily halting.” Nothing was halted by that court ruling. All of the 3D printer files were available well before that court ruling was made and continued to remain available afterwards. That should have been the first sign that gun control can no longer be enforced. But seeing websites appear that overtly defy the court order should be a wake up call for everybody that gun control is dead.
The debate about gun control is over (it has actually been over for quite some time). Every organization and individual who is fighting for gun control is fighting a battle that they have already lost.
Shortly after Cody Wilson won his day in court the gun control crowd started screeching incoherently. Failing to understand the reality of the situation, which is their modus operandi, they started demanding that judges, politicians, and anybody else involved in the government stop the distribution of files for printing firearms on 3D prints. The latest futile attempt to stop Wilson was made by several attorneys and a federal judge in Seattle:
A federal judge in Seattle has issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns.
Eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government’s settlement with the company that makes the plans available online. They also sought a restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.
A judge issued a restraining order? Oh no, whatever shall we do? I guess those 3D printer files are lost to the world now. Game over.
I wonder if these gun control fanatics are actually stupid enough to believe that. While a judge may issue a restraining order that prevents Defense Distributed, Wilson’s company, from offering the files they are still available via the most censorship resilient website on the Internet, The Pirate Bay. If you know anything about the history of The Pirate Bay, you know that there is no way in hell that any judged in the United States will get those files removed from that site. Even if they could do that, those files are being hosted by a number of people so anybody with the magnet link can still get the files. The genie is out of the bottle.
You find some wonderful words of wisdom on Twitter:
If we don’t scream and yell, any person will be able to start printing 3D guns this Wednesday, August 1st.
As opposed to what we can print now, which are apparently only 2D guns!
Jeff sessions can stop this.
Oh, my sweet summer child.
Everytown for Gun Safety is not happy about Cody Wilson’s recent court victory and have started a campaign asking its members to write Secretary Pompeo to encourage him to “stop the release of downloadable files that will allow people, including convicted felons and terrorists, to make untraceable guns on their 3D printers.”
Image courtesy of the Anarchopirateball Facebook page.
It’s fun watching a gun control organization screech ineffectively. There is literally no way that any government official can stop the release of something that has already been released. Cody Wilson didn’t sit on the files he used to print the original Liberator, he released them to the Internet and a lot of people, myself included, downloaded a copy. Even if Pompeo could issue a decree to make downloading and sharing the files illegal, it wouldn’t stop the file’s proliferation. As we’ve seen with other illegal content, namely pirated music and movies, laws have no power to stop illegal downloading. The battle against the spread of 3D printer files for firearms is a battle that cannot be won.
Gun control advocates have a problem with simple English. Consider the text of the Second Amendment:
A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.
The words “shall not be infringed” are straight forward. Somehow gun control advocates can read that and come to the conclusion that the text means that any and all restrictions can be placed on gun ownership. Oftentimes their belief is taken to an absolutely absurd level. For example, the government of Hawaii believed that that text meant that an individual is only allows to carry a firearm in their home. A United States appeals court didn’t buy it:
(Reuters) – A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment guarantees a right to openly carry a gun in public for self-defense, finding that Hawaii overstepped its authority to regulate firearms possession outside the home.
In a 2-1 decision on Tuesday, the panel found Hawaii infringed on the rights of plaintiff George Young when it twice denied him a permit the state requires to openly carry a gun in public.
“We do not take lightly the problem of gun violence,” Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain wrote in Tuesday’s ruling. “But, for better or for worse, the Second Amendment does protect a right to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.”
Cue the gun control advocates screaming that blood will soon be flowing through the streets of Hawaii even though the exact same prediction has failed to come true every single time they have made it.
Sometimes it seems like the United States is the sole remaining country that at least has its head somewhat screwed on straight when it comes to gun laws (and considering how restrictive the gun laws in the United States are, the bar is set absurdly low). Fortunately, there are signs of improvement in other countries from time to time. The Czech Republic, for example, is moving in the correct direction:
The lower house of the Czech parliament has agreed to alter the constitution so that firearms can be held legally when national security is threatened.
The amendment gives Czechs the right to use firearms during terrorist attacks.
It was passed by the lower house by a big majority, and is likewise expected to be approved by the upper house.
The move by parliament is a challenge to EU gun control rules which restrict civilians from possessing certain kinds of semi-automatic weapons.
Moving gun laws in a sensible direction and telling the European Union to go pound sand? Double win!
Governments throughout history have tried to varying degrees to monopolize violence. Not once has this strategy succeeded. Every time it has been attempted the result has been that the government and those willing to ignore the law have enjoyed a duopoly on violence. That means that the fools who abide by the law are easy prey for the duopolists and, predictably, end up being preyed upon. Usually the fools who abide by the law eventually tire of being preyed upon and decide to ignore the law, which sometimes even results in the overthrow of the government (but then the revolutionaries once again demonstrate their foolishness by establishing another government so that the vicious cycle can be repeated). Perhaps the Czech Republic can avoid that situation by giving the law abiding fools the option to defend themselves.
When Cody Wilson demonstrated the futility of gun control once and for all but publishing specifications for a 3D printable handgun, the United States government was displeased. It didn’t like the idea that the language of the Second Amendment, namely the part that says “shall not be infringed,” might actually be enforceable by its subjects. In response to Wilson’s antics, the federal government tried to censor him. Wilson decided to sue on the argument that censoring 3D printer specifications was an infringement of his First Amendment rights. The Department of Justice (DoJ), the body of the government that tried to censor Wilson and got sued for its shenanigans, finally gave up:
Two months ago, the Department of Justice quietly offered Wilson a settlement to end a lawsuit he and a group of co-plaintiffs have pursued since 2015 against the United States government. Wilson and his team of lawyers focused their legal argument on a free speech claim: They pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information. By blurring the line between a gun and a digital file, Wilson had also successfully blurred the lines between the Second Amendment and the First.
“If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident,” Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. “So what if this code is a gun?”
The Department of Justice’s surprising settlement, confirmed in court documents earlier this month, essentially surrenders to that argument. It promises to change the export control rules surrounding any firearm below .50 caliber—with a few exceptions like fully automatic weapons and rare gun designs that use caseless ammunition—and move their regulation to the Commerce Department, which won’t try to police technical data about the guns posted on the public internet. In the meantime, it gives Wilson a unique license to publish data about those weapons anywhere he chooses.
Realistically, the DoJ had no choice by to relent. As soon as it tried to censor Wilson’s 3D printer designs, the Streisand effect kicked and ensured that the files were obtained by so many people that censorship became impossible. Beyond Wilson’s case, the DoJ was also fighting a losing battle because even if it managed to censor his designs, anybody with an Internet connection could upload their own designs. The DoJ is one agency that only has authority here in the United States. The Internet is a global communication network. The odds of a single agency winning against a global network are pretty much zilch.
I’m fond of pointing out to prohibitionists that the era of enforceable prohibitions is over:
In the very near future, governments will lose the ability to keep guns, drones, and other forbidden goods out of the hands of their subjects. They’ll also be rendered impotent to enforce trade and technology embargoes. Power is shifting from the state to individuals and small groups courtesy of additive manufacturing—aka 3D printing—technology.
Additive manufacturing is poised to revolutionize whole industries—destroying some jobs while creating new opportunities. That’s according to a recent report from the prestigious RAND Corporation, and there’s plenty of evidence to support the dynamic and “disruptive” view of the future that the report promises.
Throughout history power has ebbed and flowed. At times centralized authorities are able to wield their significant power to oppress the masses. At other times events weaken those centralized authorities and the average person once again finds themselves holding a great deal of power.
Technological advancements are quickly weakening the power of the centralized nation-states. Encryption technology is making their surveillance apparatus less effective. Cryptocurrencies are making it difficult for nation-states to monitor and block transactions. Manufacturing technology is allowing individuals to make increasingly complex objects from the comfort of their own homes. The Internet has made freely trading information so easy that censorship is quickly becoming impossible.
We live in exciting times.
The government of Denver issued a decree that prohibited the private ownership of bump fire stocks. It turns out that the law was unnecessary because every bump fire stock in the city was apparently lost in a boating accident:
Denver Police police last month invited city residents to turn in any bump stocks in their possession but Denverite reports that none have been handed over.
The ban on bump stocks approved by the city council in January was considered largely symbolic. Denver had previously banned the types of semi-automatic rifles that can be modified with bump stocks.
I’m sure other governmental bodies will enact similar legislation and see similar results. It turns out that gun owners are shitty boat drivers and more often than not they end up losing their controversial firearms in bizarre boating accidents.