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Fred Dunkley

Fred Dunkley

Writer, Safehaven.com

Fred Dunkley is a tech analyst, writer, and seasoned investor. Fred has years of experience covering global markets and geopolitics. 

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3D Guns: Where Tech And Anarchy Merge

3d printing

Need a gun and don't want it traced back to you? You're in luck: 3D gun-printing is here, and blueprints are for sale, without all the hassle of gun registration and background checks. It’s another one of those moments where we remember that technological progress also means progress for the underworld, or perhaps just those seemingly normal people who suddenly whip out a weapon in the middle of a movie theater … or a school.

It takes time for legislation to catch up with technology, with the former always finding itself reacting rather than anticipating.

U.S. District Court Judge in Seattle, Robert Lasnik, recently extended an injunction blocking a non-profit company from publishing blueprints for 3D guns online.

"The instability and inaccuracy of 3-D printed firearms pose threats to the citizens of the plaintiff States, Lasnik said in his explanation.

This decision came about after a coalition of states and the District of Columbia sounded the alarm bells, saying that the plastic weapons would create an obvious public safety issue.   

Generally, critics felt the blueprints would make it easier for felons, minors and the mentally to potentially make their own 3D-printed guns, which could potentially be untraceable.

But the injunction has only proven to be a very pyrrhic victory for anti-3D-weaponry groups. Just a day after Lasnik’s decision, Cody Wilson--founder of the open-source gun-printing advocacy group "Defense Distributed"--announced he was selling the blueprints directly to anyone who wants them. Name your price and choose your shipping options, and it’s yours. Related: Which Emerging Markets Will Run Out Of Funding First?

Wilson’s free-spirit comes from his devotion to ‘crypto-anarchy’.  

"Anyone who wants these files is going to get them. I'm going to sell them to them, I'm going to ship them. That began this morning. That will never be interrupted. The free exchange of these ideas will never be interrupted and now people can participate on my website. It's not just me selling these files. I'm inviting the public to share their files,” Wilson told a press conference last week, as reported by ABCNews.

According to legal experts, Wilson isn’t violating any laws by selling the blueprints for 3D guns. There is always a loophole. In this case, the only way he can be in violation is if he fails to verify that his customers are all U.S. citizens. If he ends up selling blueprints to foreigners, he will be in violation of U.S. export law.

Wilson is also being careful not to fall afoul of the authorities by simply uploading the blueprints online. Instead, he’s sending them on flash drives to customers. 

Nor is he necessarily in it for the money. He’s selling them for a “suggested price” of $10 a pop, but people can pay whatever they want. So, it’s like a donation. What he’s interested in, he claims, is being an “open source advocate”.

It’s a fight that’s been going on for some five years. In fact, it dates back to Wilson’s first 3D-printed handgun, predictably named “The Liberator”. That was in 2013, and in 2015, Wilson sued the government after it ordered him to take the blueprints down.

In June this year, he got a Trump Bump and his blueprints were scheduled to finally be posted (legally) online on August 1st.

So, while getting past the Feds proved fairly easy under this administration, getting past the states is another story. A line-up of states immediately moved to block the release of the blueprints.  

This game is just getting under way in earnest. Phase II begins now.

By Fred Dunkley for Safehaven.com

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