TEXAS, May 12, 2013—In proving the viability of a 3D printed gun, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson has sparked much debate about gun control and the control of public access to certain information. For some, it’s a second amendment issue, and they praise Defense Distributed for creating a new and innovative process to bring more firearms to the masses. Others say it’s a first amendment issue, and they view Defense Distributed’s plans to share its manufacturing process with the general public as free speech.
But, because Defense Distributed has complied so quickly with a demand from the US Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, Enforcement Division (DTCC/END) to remove its 3D-printable CAD files for the gun it calls “The Liberator” from the public domain, it makes me wonder if the company is truly committed to its stated cause; which according to the “About US” section of its website, is as follows:
“The specific purposes for which this corporation is organized are: To defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute, at no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in the promotion of the public interest.”
I’m not saying that Defense Distributed should not have complied with the DTCC/END order, but these are pretty potent words for a company to proffer if it has no intention of standing strong when they are challenged.
How can Defense Distributed possibly facilitate “global access” and the “collaborative production of information and knowledge related to 3D printing of arms,” and publish and distribute at “no cost to the public, such information and knowledge in the promotion of the public interest,” without at least challenging the legality of the DTCC/END order to cease and desist, in court?
Although it is debatable as to whether or not Defense Distributed has the right to allow global access to the CAD files for its 3D printable gun, what’s not debatable is its responsibility to itself and its supporters to defend what it says it stands for. But as it stands now, the champions of Defense Distributed’s cause are The Pirate Bay, and the other file-sharing sites that have refused to take its files down.
If Defense Distributed is to be taken seriously as a defender of the “civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the United States Supreme Court,” it will have to learn that defending one’s beliefs takes more that heady words. It will also have to learn that what rights we have, are secured only by our ability and willingness to defend them.
Well, that’s my slant, leave me a comment and tell me yours.
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