If the recent epidemic of mass shootings is any indication, America is no stranger to the conversation of gun control.
In fact, just weeks ago, the average citizen likely believed that every last argument having to do with guns had already been exhausted one way or another. Except, the one where the average citizen starts making his own.
This is the case with Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson who began selling blueprints for untraceable 3D-printed guns courtesy of his website just last week.
The new product quickly became a popular product, with over 400 orders received in less than a day. The product also became a cause for concern from one federal court who barred the Texas company owner from posting the plans online for fear of their “untraceable, undetectable, and unique danger,” according to U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik.
Despite this court order, however, Wilson was still allowed to sell the blueprints and distribute them accordingly for individuals who had already placed orders, and for the many more to come.
That said, widespread distribution, as in posting the downloadable files online, is strictly prohibited thanks to the office of Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.
“Regulation under the law means that the files cannot be uploaded to the internet, but they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States,” the ruling claims.
Wilson, on the other hand, was not satisfied, admitting at a news conference that while the judge’s orders “were very gracious,” he plans to continue challenging the order in hopes for the ability to one day post his files for all to see with no price attached.
Naturally, this aspiration was met with the other side of the coin when 19 states and the District of Columbia sought an injunction to prevent the settlement reached with Wilson’s Austin-based company.
According to Jessica Schladebeck of the New York Daily News, it was argued that “online access to the undetectable plastic guns would pose a security risk and could be acquired by felons or terrorists.”
Wilson argues the threat of guns is already present, but not in the fashion by which he intends to distribute his plans.
“If I allow you to download an AR-15, the full plans for an AR-15,” he told CBS News, “I don’t believe that I provide you with anything other than the general knowledge of what an AR-15 is. I am no different than a publisher of information.”
As he raises money for his defense moving forward, it is this philosophy that will consume the center of debate, forging potentially even a different direction for the national conversation to explore, in a world where its future with weapons is frankly, quite unknown.
The discussion on guns has been moving so repetitively that many have forgotten to consider what is yet to come.
The constant and often overwhelming evolution of technology has led critics to argue that untraceable weaponry is the start of a liability that must be halted before its reign even has the chance to begin.
After all, people already want guns. People who should not have guns already want guns. From there, a person’s means to acquire one is often the only obstacle left to overcome.
Then again, a 3D printer represents a luxury of creation, one where a user has the capability and freedom of bringing their own idea to life in a way never before seen so convenient.
As a result, many institutions have begun the adoption of these machines, including universities such as Sonoma State.
As of now, the on-campus Makerspace is located near the middle of the library.
Assuming the worst seems troublesome, as is the thought of an unsupervised student casually waltzing into the lab with a design found online and printing a gun without a second thought for purposes of creativity. Or for other means.
Ultimately, if that day arrives, there will be many more Fergusons and many more Wilsons, just as there are now, loyal to one side of that same coin if not the other. And the same conversation being had today will ensue.