A gun advocate who published blueprints for 3D-printed firearms says he's taking inspiration from the armies that defeated Hitler

3D printed gun


Plastic guns made by 3D printers.

  • Cody Wilson is founder Defense Distributed, which has circulated blueprints for 3D-printed guns online.
  • A federal judge blocked their release on Tuesday after a court hearing.
  • But a gun rights activist group has since started a new website and shared new blueprints, citing the First Amendment.
  • Wilson said that what he is doing is a "pretty mainline American idea," but the judge cited the "likelihood of potential irreparable harm" from the weapons.
  • Wilson said that he took inspiration from Allied armies during WWII, who considered dropping guns to their resistance fighters in occupied territories as they fought the Nazis.

The man fighting to keep 3D printer blueprints for pistols and rifles online has said in an interview that he took his inspiration from the Allied armies fighting Hitler during WWII.

Speaking to The New York TimesCody Wilson said that his decision to share the blueprints was inspired by the Allies' idea of liberating Europe by dropping guns to their resistance fighters in occupied territories.

The idea was executed, but not in the enormous, game-changing quantities that advocates in the 1940s first imagined.

Bringing the comparison to the modern day, Wilson said: "Instead of dropping the gun on Europe, we dropped it on the internet."

Wilson is the founder of Defense Distributed, which briefly posted 3D blueprints on its website until Tuesday when a federal judge in Seattle blocked their release.

The judge sided with a group of attorneys from eight states who argued the blueprints could help terrorists and criminals manufacture weapons, saying that there is "the likelihood of potential irreparable harm."

The suit was filed against the Trump administration, which had earlier decided to allow Defense Distributed publish the plans online.

More than 1,000 people had downloaded these plans, which opponents say is enough to result in the mass production of untraceable firearms. 

But a gun rights activist group created another website and posted a new set of blueprints hours later, and said that their activity is protected by the First Amendment. The group thanks Wilson and Defense Distributed "for their courage, passion, innovation, and inspiration."

Wilson, 30, defended the idea of publishing such blueprints as an American one in the New York Times interview, which conducted before the second set of blueprints were released:

"The argument that I'm making," he said, "although not always very well, is that what I'm doing is actually a pretty mainline American idea."

Wilson was listed as one of the 15 Most Dangerous People in the World by Wired magazine in 2012, the year he founded Defense Distributed. In 2013, he published 3D-printing blueprints for a gun online, which it called the "Liberator." The plans were downloaded more than 10,000 times before the State Department ordered them offline.

On Tuesday, President Trump tweeted that he was "looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public." He said he had already spoken to the NRA but that he thought the sale "doesn't seem to make much sense"  - an apparent rebuke to gun industry and the NRA, which supports the legality of such guns. 

Wilson said that his goal was to alter the relationship between citizens and the state: "I think the state should be as weak as possible relative to the individual. The proper posture of the state is one that at least is in fear of its citizen, not one that lords over it."

When asked about his political views by, Wilson said that he had voted just once, in 2008, for then-Representative Ron Paul, a noted libertarian, in a state race.

Wilson has faced pushback from corporations, the Times reports, with YouTube repeatedly pulling his promotional videos and Indiegogo canceling crowdfunding campaign, among others.