Feds force Defense Distributed to remove 3-D gun blueprints

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, May 9, 2013

Game over for Cody Wilson and his 3-D gun-printing company, Defense Distributed.

The Texas law student announced via Twitter Thursday that the federal government had ordered him to remove several sets of blueprints, including those for the 3-D “Liberator” gun, from the company’s website, DEFCAD.org.

@DefDist:  has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State.

“We got an official letter from the Secretary of State, telling me who they were, what their authority was under U.S. law and telling me they want to review these files to see if they’re class one munitions,” Wilson told Betabeat. “That includes blueprints.”

The letter he was referring to came from the U.S. Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Enforcement Division (DTCC/END), which had demanded that Defense Distributed remove the blueprints from the public domain. While he is not legally restricted from making the weapons for his own use, sharing the blueprints without a license or written approval from the government is illegal.

Defense Distributed has instead placed a red banner on the website that reads ”DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls. Until further notice, the United States government claims control of the information.” The company also issued a tweet informing its supporters of the situation.

According to Forbes, it took just two days for the Liberator’s designs to be downloaded more than 100,000 times. Very few of these individuals would be able to actually build the gun, however, as 3-D printers are not readily available and cost thousands of dollars.

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