Erin Lee Carr produced this VICE Motherboard documentary on Cody R Wilson of Defense Distributed (DD), who "figured out how to print a semi-automatic rifle from the comfort of his own home" and is now spreading the gospel of "wiki weapons." Yes, they even have a manifesto.
Wilson, who recently pitched his ideas at SXSW, is sharing the HOWTO online and encouraging others to join him.
This is a story about the rapid evolution of a technology that has forced the American legal system to play catch up. Cody Wilson, a 24 year old University of Texas Law student, is an advocate for the open source production of firearms using 3D printing technology. This makes him a highly controversial figure on both sides of the gun control issue. MOTHERBOARD sat down with Cody in Austin, Texas to talk about the constitution, the legal system, and to watch him make and test-fire a 3D-printed gun.
A related item at VICE by Adam Clark Estes reports on the reaction of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The government doesn't seem entirely sure what to think of Wilson's own institution. I talked to a number of ATF representatives, all of whom sent a similar message: 3D-printed gun technology has arrived, but it's not good enough yet to start figuring out how to regulate it.
"We are aware of all the 3D printing of firearms and have been tracking it for quite a while," Earl Woodham, spokesperson for the ATF field office in Charlotte, told me. "Our firearms technology people have looked at it, and we have not yet seen a consistently reliable firearm made with 3D printing."