The Rifleman Returns: Controversial Bitcoiner Cody Wilson Releases 3D Gun Files Online

Cody Wilson

TL;DR: Presumably taking advantage of the Trump administration’s loosening of federal gun laws set to have gone into effect at the end of January this year, controversial Bitcoiner Cody Wilson resurfaced publicly this week to announce making 3D gun blueprints available online for download through his company Defense Distributed. 

Controversial Bitcoiner Cody Wilson Releases 3D Gun Files Online

“DEFCAD is live,” came the tweet read around the world from 3D printable firearm advocates Defense Distributed. It’s the first communication by the group since late last year on the platform, and it pointed followers to defcad.com. That’s where 4,491, at the time of publication, “growing library” of downloadable files for 3D printable elements to a firearm can be had. Nearly 30,000 files have indeed been downloaded, according to the site, among more than 13,000 surfers.

Cody Wilson
Cody Wilson

To match the occasion, the group’s controversial founder, Cody Wilson, resurfaced as its spiritual leader in a dramatic new video. The two-minute clip shows Wilson in various states of repose, including a coronavirus-fitting mask, while making a pilgrimage to Raoul Josset’s Fannin Memorial Monument in Texas, burial site of Colonel James Fannin and the Goliad Massacre victims — an equally dramatic slice of Texas and Mexico history fraught with revolutionary symbolism.

March 27, 2020 coincides with Goliad and also happens to be just beyond the 45 day waiting period for online groups such as Wilson’s, under a set of new policies from the Trump administration, essentially giving Defense Distributed the right to post such files. “I bring you good tidings,” Wilson posted the same day. “As you head into your weekend lockdowns, I’d like to mark a special occasion.”

The Fight for Digital Expression Continues Anew in the Age of Coronavirus

Back when Wilson was in full legal swing in 2018, just prior to his arrest on unrelated charges, Defense Distributed conducted a fundraiser, a series of “contracts” with its supporters to help with associated fees. As each goal was reached, elements of the contract were revealed. “And a special note on Contract Y from the Defense (Contributed) days of 2018,” Wilson reminded readers, “I can reveal that contract was for the technology necessary to run an ITAR-compliant file-sharing service. I can reveal this because the contract is now fulfilled, and DEFCAD, the world’s largest firearms repository, has announced its reopening.”

Wilson is part of the first wave of Bitcoiners (he and Amir Taaki, for example, launched Dark Wallet), before Wall Streeters and corporate progressives took over the project, touting stock-to-flow ratios and cataloging every move of CEOs. He represents a more idealistic time, one where the point of peer-to-peer electronic cash was thought to be nothing less than society-changing, Earth-shattering. And since 2013, Wilson and Defense Distributed have been in legal battles fighting for the right to publish online digital files the US government finds objectionable.

Undoubtedly, coronavirus and the subsequent mandatory lockdowns rolling through the United States could potentially spur renewed interest in printing an article of self-defense. Police departments across the country have all but tapped out, urging folks not to call for break-ins and the sort, jails are releasing detainees out of contagion fears, retail gun shops are being deemed “non-essential,” and, well, it’s combining to create a general mood of preparation filling the air.

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