Cody Wilson speaks out on selling blueprints for 3D-printed guns after court order

The founder of a company that distributes designs for untraceable 3D-printed guns is selling blueprints through his website after a federal judge blocked him from posting the instructions for free. On Monday, the judge ordered Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, to remove the blueprints from the internet.

Wilson said he hasn’t violated that ruling. He is now charging customers, who can name their own price for those designs. Wilson said on “CBS This Morning” on Wednesday that he’s still committed to making the blueprints available for consumers because “it’s a matter of principle.”

“I know it’s absurd to some degree to fight for your principles in a culture like this, but I think it’s a worthy demonstration, and of course, I could always demonstrate, like today, that I can always sell these files. And I’ll continue to do so,” Wilson said.

Attorneys general in 19 states and the District of Columbia claimed victory when Wilson was blocked from posting the blueprints on his website. The states argued that online access to the undetectable plastic guns would pose a security risk and could be acquired by felons or terrorists. But it appears the judge also gave Wilson a workaround, and he took advantage of it. The federal judge who issued the injunction Monday wrote: “Files cannot be uploaded to the internet, but they can be emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published within the United States.”

Asked about selling AR-15 blueprints in the seven states where they are illegal, Wilson said there’s no need to separate files because “in different configurations” it’s “legal to make in every state in this country — even today.”

“So no, there’s no difference or there’s no need really to separate the kind of file that you can get or to somehow distinguish between the pure information you can receive. So even if I couldn’t make an AR-15 in California, which I can, I can still have the file for an AR-15. This is a separate question of law and a separate question of fact,” Wilson said.

In light of Sunday’s shooting at a video game tournament in Jacksonville, Florida, “CBS This Morning” asked whether Wilson was concerned that a mentally ill person could get access to the blueprints. According to court records, the gunman who killed two people and wounded 10 others before killing himself had a history of mental illness and anger issues.

“Sure, I mean there’s always a possibility that people with a history of mental illness can get access to information and somehow do something bad with it. But we live in a nation of laws and you should prosecute crimes after the fact,” Wilson said. “You know, this gentleman who shot up this game tournament in Florida legally bought that firearm. The law is there to prevent bad things from happening but to do no more than that.”  

In 2013, Wilson became the first person to fire a bullet successfully from a home-printed 3D gun. He said he tracks who he sells his blueprints to, and he has sold “many hundreds” and “probably in the thousands at this point.”

“I’m required to do all kinds of screening and stuff. I can only ship to U.S. persons, U.S. citizens. There’s all kinds of arms-export control stuff that we have to comply with. But of course I’ve had many years to become comfortable and become compliant with these laws,” Wilson said.

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