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Meet the Registered Sex-Offender at the Center of the Effort to Deregulate Downloadable Guns

According to a new story in the Texas Tribune, Cody Wilson––the man at the forefront of the downloadable gun movement––is a registered sex-offender and “self-described anarchist.” The Tribune’s piece comes little more than a month after the Trump administration announced plans to make it possible for Wilson and others to post downloadable gun schematics online, which would enable anyone––including terrorists, convicted felons, and domestic abusers––to 3D-print their own untraceable guns. This move by the Trump administration, which can become final any day, would empower Wilson, who has led the downloadable gun movement since his company, Defense Distributed, posted schematics to a 3-D printed gun online in 2013. 

The Texas Tribune’s report by Stacy Fernandez, which can be read in full here, describes Wilson in detail (emphasis added): 

  • “Wilson is a gun-rights activist and self-described anarchist.Originally from Arkansas, he moved to Austin in 2012 to study at the University of Texas School of Law. It was that year when, inspired by the work of WikiLeaks, he founded Defense Distributed to create the ‘WikiLeaks for the second amendment.’ Within a year Wilson created and released blueprints for the world’s first fully 3D printed gun.’”
  • “Last September, Wilson was sentenced to seven years of probation after he pleaded guilty to injuring a child following accusations that he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl. He was required to register as a sex offender, according to the Travis County district attorney’s office.”
  • “After his arrest, Wilson said he’d step down as Defense Distributed’s CEO, but he is currently the company’s director, he said Tuesday.”

The Tribune’s story comes as the Trump administration prepares to shift oversight of downloadable guns from the State Department to the Department of Commerce, thus empowering Wilson by allowing him and others to apply for licenses to publish downloadable gun schematics online. A federal court found the administration’s earlier attempt to allow Wilson to post downloadable gun schematics to be unlawful, deciding that the administration had failed to provide any rationale for the sudden change in the State Department’s previous determination that downloadable guns endanger Americans by making it easier for terrorists and criminals to obtain these weapons. The Trump administration moved forward despite the court’s ruling and overwhelming opposition from the American people––a decision that could have deadly consequences at home and abroad

This potential proliferation of downloadable guns follows two recent criminal incidents involving them. On New Year’s Day, a couple reportedly used a downloadable gun to murder a Rhode Island woman. And in February of 2019, a Texas man was sentenced to 8 years in prison after officers caught him with a partially 3D-printed AR-15 rifle and a list of lawmakers’ addresses in his backpack, despite being banned from owning a firearm due to a violent altercation with a live-in girlfriend. 

Experts are available to provide more information on downloadable guns and the litigation.