For the past five years, Cody Wilson, a 30-year-old self-described “little anarchist in Austin” has been battling the most formidable of opponents — the U.S. government — to legalize the distribution of weapon-design files that allow printing of 3-D firearms at home, avoiding layers of federal and state gun-control policies like permits and background checks. Now, Wilson is being sued by a dozen states in four courts, the Washington Post reports. It’s the climax of years of litigation that began in 2013, when Wilson built his first fully printed gun and published the blueprint files on defcad.com, an online community where users upload and download designs. Wilson says publishing information for the production of firearms is protected speech under the First Amendment. “We don’t err on the side of censorship in this country,” he said.
Critics say his plan could put unregulated, difficult-to-detect weapons in the wrong hands, creating a public safety crisis. “It makes no sense to make downloadable guns available to any felon, domestic abuser or terrorist,” said Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson. Wilson entered into a settlement with federal officials that gave him permission to upload the much-contested files. The agreement was temporarily blocked by a federal judge, and Wilson shut down the site. He refuses to stand down. He says he should not have to answer if a person is harmed by a gun created from his blueprints. “Anyone can walk out of my office holding a blueprint. That does not make it a weapon,” he said. “You can’t credibly make the claim that one is the other.” The Post traces how Wilson formed his views on guns. His Christian childhood household instilled a belief that the republic’s foundation was godly and that all men were given inalienable rights.