Cody Wilson is perhaps best known for his successful quest to create the world’s first 3D-printed pistol, the files for which he released last spring. In the span of just two days, Wilson’s files for the single-shot .380 pistol dubbed the “Liberator” were downloaded more than 100,000 times from his website. The files were subsequently removed and Wilson’s website put under review by the Secretary of State. For several months afterwards, the website and Wilson’s future in 3D printing remained unclear. Now Wilson has broken the silence by announcing a deal with Simon & Schuster to pen a non-fiction book about the Liberator’s design, its implications, and Wilson’s reasons for creating the firearm.
A former law student at the University of Texas, Wilson is a self-proclaimed Second Amendment and civil liberties advocate. As a 3D-printing enthusiast, he founded Defense Distributed, a non-profit digital publishing and development firm that keeps a database of 3D-printable firearm parts. Prior to the creation of the Liberator, Wilson was involved in designs for plastic magazines, AR-15 lowers, and other components.
While the firm has seen its fair share of controversy, it is Wilson’s Liberator pistol that generated the most attention. Constructed from 16 ABS plastic parts and a metal firing pin, the handgun was successfully printed and test-fired by Wilson in May of last year. Lawmakers, 3D-printing enthusiasts, and supporters of both sides of the gun control debate weighed in.
“Some think I’m awful, that what I did was terrible, and others think this is an incredible story that needs to be told,” Wilson said in an interview with Forbes.
That story will be told in a book deal worth $250,000. It may seem like a landfall for the young activist, but Wilson says that he will be shelving the money to pay for anticipated legal expenses.
“At least now if I’m in prison I’ll have something to do,” he joked.
Wilson intends to title the book Negative Liberty, and promised that the text will not simply be an ideological treatise. He is also working on a project involving the cryptocurrency Bitcoin and how it is spent online.
Attempts to curb the ownership and construction of 3D-printed firearms and have largely been unfruitful. Late last year, President Barack Obama renewed the 25-year-old Undetectable Firearms Act without proposed new restrictions on plastic firearms.