Settlement Allows Public Access to 3-D Gun Making

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With a green light from the State Department, Cody Wilson of Austin, Tx., is inviting anyone who wants access to his code to create firearms using a 3-D printer to come and take it, the Dallas Morning News reports. The settlement with Wilson’s nonprofit, Defense Distributed, as well as the Second Amendment Foundation, was announced last week. Plaintiffs claimed it as a victory in part because it’s a way to circumvent laws regulating how guns can be purchased. It started in 2013, when Wilson was ordered by the government to remove files he’d posted online that could be downloaded and used to make guns with a 3-D printer. At the time, officials cited regulations for exporting firearms. In the settlement, the government gave Wilson’s nonprofit the OK to distribute such files. Wilson says he wants to “make a resource for American gun culture.”

In 2013, Wilson designed and built a 3-D printed gun, tested it out and uploaded its design files to the internet so anyone else could do the same. After Wilson got the takedown order from the government, he joined forces with the Second Amendment Foundation to sue the State Department. 3-D printing essentially puts manufacturing into the hands of any user with access to a plan and the right printer, which uses layers of plastic, metal or other materials to create a complex device. The settlement came at a time where the government is working to transfer oversight for the export of firearms from the State Department to the U.S. Department of Commerce. The government initially said Wilson needed government authorization to post files that could instruct a 3-D printer to make a gun.

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