Hexbyte Tech News Wired Top Stories in July: How 3-D Gun Printing Became a First Amendment Case

Hexbyte Tech News Wired

Senior writer Andy Greenberg reported on the landmark legal shift that allowed 3-D gun blueprints to be freely available online. Plus: The nine things Robert Mueller will pursue next, and inside Facebook’s early days.
As a native Texan whose journalistic career began in that state, I’ve long followed the journey of Cody Wilson, the anarchist Austinite who rose to fame after he 3-D-printed a gun in 2013. His innovation predictably excited both sides of the gun control debate—and quickly attracted the attention of the federal government. According to senior writer Andy Greenberg, a week after Wilson uploaded the gun’s code to the internet, he “received a letter from the US State Department demanding that he take down his printable-gun blueprints or face prosecution for violating federal export controls.” Essentially, “Wilson was accused of exporting weapons without a license, just as if he’d shipped his plastic gun to Mexico rather than put a digital version of it on the internet.” But Wilson wouldn’t surrender. During the next five years, he challenged the government with a lawsuit, arguing that his First Amendment rights had been violated. His lawyers “pointed out that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information.” Two months ago, the Department of Justice ceded its ground; Wilson will be allowed to offer the blueprints again on his website starting August 1. Talk about weaponizing the First Amendment.


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Hexbyte  Tech News  Wired

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