Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- Cody Wilson, owner of Defense Distributed and designer of 3-D printed firearms, has been arrested in Taiwan pending extradition to the United States to face charges related to having paid a sixteen-year-old girl in Austin, TX to have sex with him. The evidence against Wilson includes the victim’s account of the incident, telephone records and messages on an Internet dating site, and surveillance video from the hotel where the crime allegedly took place. Wilson missed his flight back to this country, having been informed by a friend of the victim that he was the subject of an investigation.
Cody Wilson was extradited back to the custody United States Marshalls this weekend in Houston, Texas. As of Monday, September 24th, Wilson is out on bail, which was set at $150,000.
If found guilty of charges of sexual assualt on a juvenille, Wilson could face up to 20 years in prison and would become a prohibited person unable to own firearms.
This news is being passed around by supporters of gun control on social media with an implied Nelsonian “Ha ha!” Now if Wilson is tried and convicted, and the evidence appears to be damning, he will justly look forward to a long stretch in prison, and much good may it do him. But what about his design and the movement, crypto-anarchism, that he identifies himself as a part of?
It would be easy for those who are predisposed to be against the idea of 3-D printed guns to see what Wilson is alleged to have done as the predictable behavior of someone who opposes societal rules. I am told on a regular basis that a core of libertarian philosophy is John Stuart Mill’s harm principle, the idea that if what I’m doing isn’t harming someone else, I should be free to act. The notion of consent in what people do with each other is a part of that, as is a recognition of an age below which consent cannot be given. Perhaps Wilson didn’t get the word.
What can be said is that no political philosophy works if the people trying to put it into practice have no moral center. What Wilson is accused of doing, however, is not consistent with the principle behind the Liberator pistol and following designs.
The ability to print out a firearm at home is an example of distributed power, the democratization of agency. In Europe, weapons have often been treated as the privilege of the aristocracy, though as the German messer shows, the peasants will find a way. And in a free society, one that works to remove barriers to opportunity and to participate in how society is organized and run, setting aside a special set of rules for the few is antithetical to how things are supposed to be.
Gun control advocates might ask here how more guns in more hands would do anything to stop what Wilson is alleged to have done. I offer them the case of Sarah McKinley, an Oklahoma widow who shot a man who broke into her home while she and her infant son were inside. She was eighteen at the time.
The girl who alleges that Cody Wilson paid her for sex was not forced in the sense that a home invader forces himself on the occupants, and so being able to print out a firearm at home isn’t the solution to what he is supposed to have done. But what 3-D printing of guns is aimed at doing is to provide more people the choice to resist violations. A greater respect for personal choice is at stake here, and adults imposing themselves on children is dissonant with that value.
Cody Wilson needs to face the charges against him and take the consequences, whatever they turn out to be. The concept of distributing firearm designs that he participated in does not depend on him and is not the result of his personal behavior. We can acknowledge a person’s wrongdoing without disposing of the ideas that he contributed to.
About Greg Camp
Greg Camp has taught English composition and literature since 1998 and is the author of six books, including a western, The Willing Spirit, and Each One, Teach One, with Ranjit Singh on gun politics in America. His books can be found on Amazon. He tweets @gregcampnc.