Fayetteville, AR –-(Ammoland.com)- Cody Wilson’s company, Defense Distributed, has been barred by a federal judge from giving away the design of the 3-D printed gun that had been available for free on their website on the grounds that doing so had been allowed by the Department of State without notifying Congress about the change in the law regulating making technical data about guns available to foreigners.
The squabbling is over the distinction between an item and a category in the Munitions List, leaving the glaring violations of the First and Second Amendments to be addressed another day.
What’s a designer who believes in open source technology to do? How about putting the files up for sale. And yes, if you want to pay a penny, you’ve named your price. The terms of service list several naughty deeds that users are not supposed to do, including passing information to countries like Cuba or North Korea and using Defense Distributed’s website and data to spread chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons about the globe.
Defense Distributed is likely aware of the nature of the Internet, but for the benefit of those who haven’t been keeping up, the Internet has a way of laughing at people who think that walls work.
The flow of information is exactly what the medium does, and stopping some bits while letting others through is frequently a fool’s errand. And if you really need to make a nuke, there’s a lot of information out there to help you out. If, instead, you just want to make guns, the plans are all over. It’s getting to the point that I’m expecting to see Glock come out with an M1911 someday soon.
In other words, the animals have departed, the stables have been cleaned, and the gun control freaks are desperate to find the remaining scraps of wood that were once a door to close. As John Gilmore, one of the people who were present at the creation of the Internet and a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, explained to Time Magazine in 1993, “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” He said that in the days before the 56K modem was invented. But that dial-up sound, something like a couple of cats trying to start a family, was alive and screeching.
Today, the shrill voices are demanding that we hand over our freedoms to people who have demonstrated themselves as being the least qualified to discuss the subject. This is not only the case among people who want to see stricter gun laws. The justices of the Supreme Court who sat in judgment of pivotal cases dealing with technology law had to be educated about sites like Facebook and Twitter. But the First Amendment shouldn’t be hard for them to comprehend. If a designer cannot share his work with the world, what will be allowed? This may sound paranoid to people who don’t concern themselves with the subject of rights regularly, but lots of technology is potentially dangerous. The computers that we use to communicate are themselves a risk.
What 3-D printed guns represent is distributed power. The people who want to concentrate power oppose letting control slip into the hands of us commoners, but Defense Distributed reminds us that the wider we spread knowledge, the harder it is for masters to rule.
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.