Second year law student Cody Wilson has the distinction of being the founder and director of Defense Distributed, a non-profit organization dedicated to producing distributing firearm and firearm accessory designs for 3D printers.
The pioneer gun designer has plans to design and publish firearm parts through an online platform called “Wiki Weapons.” The project is intended to establish a knowledge base on how to produce gun materials with the aid of a 3D printer, as well as promoting Wilson’s Second Amendment beliefs.
Recently, Wilson’s plans got a boost in acquisition of a Type 7 Federal Firearms License (FFL), which will allow Wilson to sell the gun parts that he produced and designed.
“The big thing it allows me to do is that it makes me [a producer] under the law—everything that manufacturers are allowed to do,” he told Ars Technica. “I can sell some of the pieces that we’ve been making. I can do firearms transactions and transport.”
In the past few weeks, the law student announced designs for an AR-compatible magazine and an AK equivalent. These announcements come on the tail of a number of state and federal bills calling for lowering magazine capacity. Another showcase from Defense Distribute involved a reliable AR-15 lower that stood up to the stress of firing over 600 rounds. However, these are not the reasons Wilson wanted to acquire a FFL.
Wilson plans to go big and he has several ideas on how to do that. First, he wants begin making firearm parts which will need to be covered under the license. This is a tricky proposition however, as Wilson’s FFL took him around six months to be approved when the norm is around 60 days. This could be attributed to the current volume of applications that are forming queues for everything from FFLs to handgun permits. Also, Wilson cannot begin manufacture of some firearm parts until he receives an add-on to his FFL, a Class 2 Special Occupational Taxpayer (SOT). Once he is approved for that, the law student can then begin producing firearms.
The second part of Wilson’s expansion plans involve raising funds to further enhance his website Defcad.org and to create a search engine for 3D printable firearms. The projected amount needed is $100,000.
“In a way it’s like we’re just beginning—I’m not going to begin until we have that SOT,” he said. “[We will] sell some of the stuff we’ve already made. We’ll probably make some stuff to sell and that will be a better way of covering the prototyping.”
Defense Distributed is not without opponents however. Some politicians have begun calling for more 3D printer regulation when media attention first focused on Wilson in 2012. Currently he occupies the 14th spot in Wired Magazine’s “15 Most Dangerous People in the World” list.