3-D Printed Guns: UT Student behind national controversy talks w

3-D Printed Guns: UT Student behind national controversy talks with FOX 7

Posted: Updated:

It's called the "Liberator." It is a fully functional plastic gun created with a 3-D printer.

Cody Wilson, 25, grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. Now he's a law student at UT Austin. He says his non-profit "Defense Distributed" all started with one question.

"Wouldn't it be interesting if this device could make a gun? Not just because that would be a cool thing, but it might actually serve to help promote some of the subversive promise of this tool. And I'm interested in political philosophy and social organization and I thought, 'Well this is at least an interesting way of unpacking a lot of ideas,'" Wilson said.

After that, came a lot of red tape. His printer was taken away, he had to fight the ATF to get the license to manufacture guns and after all that, then he had to actually invent the working Liberator which he showed us.

It's completely plastic except for the metal firing pin.

The plastic construction is one of the many criticisms of Wilson's work.

"Of course our Police Department's stance is, it's a safety hazard. It's a security risk to police officers and the public if there's weapons that can't be detected when they're going into sporting events, special events, football games," said Jermaine Kilgore with the Austin Police Department.

This Monday, Wilson put the blueprints up on his website. That's when the government stepped in.

"Thursday afternoon, I got an e-mail from the Department of State and Department of Defense Trade Controls requesting that I remove the files while they determine if they had the authority to regulate them," he said.

So he removed the files at their request but he says they're still widely available on sites like Pirate Bay.

He's now talking with lawyers and other groups to plan his next move.

"I think what most people are afraid of is the fact that 'Techno-Libertarianism' kind of scored a few points last week and it's the idea that this represents that's more scary than its physicality. So what if it's a plastic gun? But the idea that one day you'll be able to make things for yourself despite a politician managing the future is very disruptive...very violent to these people," Wilson said.

Wilson points out Defense Distributed is a non-profit. He makes no money off of this. To him, there are bigger issues at stake.

"This is an important discussion and important moment. A lot of people don't realize that. And now it's bigger than guns. It's about the future of information and the control of the internet itself," Wilson said.

Wilson says there are so many rights holders and interest groups trying to regulate 3-D printers, he's afraid they will end up rendering it a technology that just makes toys...and he's not interested in that.

Powered by WorldNow

KTBC FOX 7
119 East 10th Street
Austin, TX 78701

Phone: (512) 476-7777
Fax: (512) 495-7001

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices