from the courts-aren't-buying-it dept.
A Sacramento, California man was sentenced Thursday to over three years in prison for unlawful manufacture of a firearm and one count of dealing firearms.
Last year, Daniel Crownshield, pleaded guilty to those counts in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping other charges. According to investigators, Crowninshield, known online as "Dr. Death," would sell unfinished AR-15 lower receivers, which customers would then pay for him to transform into fully machined lower receivers using a computer numerically controlled (CNC) mill. (In October 2014, Cody Wilson, of Austin, Texas, who has pioneered 3D-printed guns, began selling a CNC mill called "Ghost Gunner," designed to work specifically on the AR-15 lower.)
"In order to create the pretext that the individual in such a scenario was building his or her own firearm, the skilled machinist would often have the individual press a button or put his or her hands on a piece of machinery so that the individual could claim that the individual, rather than the machinist, made the firearm," the government claimed in its April 14 plea agreement.
So, if he taught a class in how to do it would he also then be a criminal?
For the past five years, Cody Wilson has applied every possible advance in digital manufacturing technology to the mission of undermining government attempts at gun control. First he created the world's first 3-D printed gun, a deadly plastic weapon anyone could print at home with a download and a few clicks. Then he started selling a computer-controlled milling machine designed to let anyone automatically carve out the body of an untraceable AR-15 from a semifinished chunk of aluminum, upgrading his provocations from plastic to metal. Now his latest advance in home firearm fabrication allows anyone to make an object designed to defy the most basic essence of gun control: A concealable, untraceable, and entirely unregulated metal handgun.
On Sunday, Wilson's gun rights advocacy group, Defense Distributed, announced a new release of software for his computer-controlled milling machine known as the Ghost Gunner. The new code allows the 1-foot-cubed tabletop machine—which uses a spinning bit to carve three-dimensional shapes with minute precision—to not only produce untraceable bodies of AR-15s but to carve out the aluminum frame of an M1911 handgun, the popular class of semiautomatic pistols that includes the Colt 45 and similar weapons. Wilson says he plans to follow up soon with software for producing regulation-free Glocks and other handgun models to follow.
Wilson's goal now, he says, is to do for small arms what Defense Distributed did for AR-15s when it first released the $1,500 Ghost Gunner milling machine exactly three years ago to the day: Give people the ability to make a lethal weapon at home with no regulation whatsoever.
Also at Ars Technica:
"It's a certain type of person who builds and enjoys an AR-15—that's a lot of gun, and most people don't feel the need to have a big ol' battle rifle," Wilson says. "But we believe lots of people are interested in the conversation about an untraceable, concealable handgun. It's been on the roadmap the whole time for this project. It's just always been a question of how we get there, and it ended up being very, very difficult—kinda like the brass ring of the project, if you will."
For those in the US with a combined interest in 3D-Printers, intersections of the 1st and 2nd Amendments, and legal precedents; Cody Wilson has been fighting the US Government for half a decade.
Short version: after Wilson uploaded his 3D pistol plans to his site, over 100,000 people downloaded it - this drew the attention of the US authorities, who tried to use the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to force a take-down.
The authorities argued that by posting the 3D printer plans for a firearm, Mr. Wilson was effectively exporting firearms, and subject to federal regulation. Eventually the Department of Justice dropped the case, paving the way for DIY'ers to publish such things freely.
The article cites 'promises' made by DoJ to move the regulations to another department.
Wired's article: A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora's Box for DIY Guns (archive)
Related: The $1,200 Machine That Lets Anyone Make a Metal Gun at Home
Japanese Gun Printer Goes to Jail
Suspected 3D-Printed Gun Parts and Plastic Knuckles Seized in Australia
FedEx Refuses to Ship Defense Distributed's Ghost Gunner CNC Mill
Man Who Used CNC Mill to Manufacture AR-15 "Lowers" Sentenced to 41 Months
Ghost Gunner Software Update Allows the Milling of an M1911 Handgun
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is "looking into" the availability of plans for the 3D printing of guns, writing on Twitter that he had already been in touch with the NRA on the issue.
"I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!" the president wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.
After a years-long legal battle, Defense Distributed, a Texas-based group, has announced plans to release instructions on Wednesday for guns that can be created by a 3-D printer, including a handgun and parts for a semi-automatic assault rifle. Although plans were not supposed to be available until Wednesday, instructions have already begun to appear online for download, CNN reported Tuesday.