A 25-year-old man sought to create a 3D printed gun that could be made entirely from plastic and his goal was to release a gun into the Internet that could not be regulated or stopped. The government is reviewing if his organization violated foreign arms trade regulations and that could land him in prison.
KATV reports that Cody Wilson's organization Defense Distributed released the plans online via their web site. Plans for the liberator were downloaded hundreds of thousands of times before the U.S. Department of State asked that Defense Distributed take them down.
However, by the time the plans were taken down, they had already been uploaded to international file sharing sites. Forbes reported back in May that the gun’s blueprints were downloaded 100,000 times in just two days.
A letter from the Department of State to Wilson reportedly indicated that the department was reviewing if the organization had violated foreign arms trade regulations. ITAR regulations require technical defense data exports receive authorization from the State Department first.
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A violation of those regulations could mean prison time or fines for Wilson.
"We sought to kind of reproduce that, psychological, you could call it terror. By saying in a sense, we have a released a gun into the Internet. This gun is now available to anyone in the world at anytime, whether they're on our side or not," Wilson said.
Wilson and his organization could possibly pursue legal action against the government for prior restraint. He believes his actions fall under constitutional rights.
"What we did as a speech act, as a template of thought and even the legal prescience that might come of it, they have so much more gravity than what might happen to me," Wilson said.