An Austin resident and self-described “crypto-anarchist” said Tuesday he’ll begin selling blueprints that would allow users to 3D print their own plastic guns, a day after a federal judge extended a temporary block preventing him from making the plans available on the web for free.
In other words: If he can’t be the “Napster” of crypto-guns, he’ll be the “iTunes,” Wilson told reporters at a press conference Tuesday in Austin.
The decision may put Wilson, currently at the center of a slew of court disputes across the country, on shaky legal footing. Wilson has argued in court that preventing him from publishing the blueprints infringes on his First Amendment rights. But Monday’s injunction said the potential harms to Wilson’s First Amendment rights “are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer” if he was permitted to post the blueprints for free. Nearly two dozen states that lined up against Wilson in court have said the untraceable plastic guns made using the blueprints would pose an enormous security risk.
Wilson called the injunction “hysterical,” saying that the order allows his company to sell the designs and distribute them to customers through the mail, over email and with secure downloadable links. Wilson said he has already received 400 orders, according to the Associated Press.
Josh Blackman, Wilson’s lawyer, said in an interview Tuesday that selling the blueprints directly to people within the United States is perfectly legal.
“It’s not about distribution, it’s about posting them,” Blackman said. “There’s no prohibition on distributing these files — the prohibition is on doing it in a way that foreign persons can access.”
But the Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is leading a 19-state challenge to Wilson, has characterized the block differently.
“I am very concerned about 3-D printable guns, wherever they are,” Ferguson said earlier this month. Thanks to the federal judge in Seattle, he said, “federal firearm import and export laws once again prohibit the distribution of these downloadable gun files. Anyone who posts downloadable guns to the internet is violating federal law. It is the federal government’s job to enforce those laws, and I urge it to enforce them aggressively as to these prohibited items.”
Wilson’s organization, Defense Distributed, is allowing customers to set their own price for any of 10 gun designs posted on his website. The guns appear to be available for as little as one cent.
Wilson’s legal woes stretch back to 2013, when he posted blueprints for the 3D gun. The State Department ordered him to stop, arguing he was illegally exporting sensitive arms technology. Wilson sued in 2015, and Defense Distributed reached a settlement with the State Department earlier this summer, seemingly clearing the way for him to begin posting the designs online. But he was stalled by a flurry of lawsuits across the country.