The US government's Department of Defense Trade Controls have demanded that 3D-printing innovators Defense Distributed remove a controversial blueprint for a printable gun from their website, as the feds deliberate over what sort of license the company may require for future operations.
Defense Distributed, founders of the Wiki Weapons Project, hope to freely distribute plans for 3D-printable weapons — and as the plans are already widely available on popular Torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, the government's efforts to lock down the blueprints are largely symbolic.
"They asked that I take it down while they determine if they have the authority to control the info," said Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson to Fox News. "It's clearly a direct response to everything we did this week. 3D printing is clearly not the best way to make an effective weapon."
According to an interview with Wilson at Betabeat.com, the US government is determining if the blueprints qualify as class one munitions — and if so, the blueprints might be in violation of the Arms Export Control Act, theoretically classifying Defense Distributed as arms dealers.
Why do such a thing? Defense Distributed views it as something of a social experiment, as evidenced by this paragraph from their website:
"This project might change the way we think about gun control and consumption.
How do governments behave if they must one day operate on the assumption that any and every citizen has near instant access to a firearm through the Internet? Let’s find out."