Nullification starts with individuals figuring out ways to do what the government says they can’t.
Cody Wilson did just that when he came up with an end-run around a federal judge’s injunction that was intended to keep blueprints for 3-D printed guns out of the public’s hands.
After a federal judge blocked a settlement agreement between Wilson and State Department allowing him to post 3-D printed gun files on his website, Wilson announced he would sell the plans for whatever U.S. customers are willing to pay.
The agreement with the State Department was the culmination of a long legal fight between the Wilson and the feds over posting 3-D gun blueprints on the internet. The agreement allowed Wilson’s company, Defense Distributed, to post the files online beginning Aug. 1. But 19 states sued to block the agreement.
In his injunction, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik sided with those states, agreeing that homemade firearms manufactured from the blueprints could cause harm to their citizens. The judge noted that 3D-printed firearms can have a “toy-like appearance” and include no identifying information, making them virtually untraceable.
Lasnik based his opinion on the Arms Export Control Act and ordered the files must stay offline to comply with U.S. export laws.
Wilson rejected the court’s opinion.
“State governments have no power to second-guess the decision making of the State Department. They have no power to ask websites to take information off of the internet that’s legally posted there,” Wilson said during an interview on CBS This Morning. “And I’m certainly not going to consent to the judgment of judges who say that they can.”
Wilson basically found a workaround. By selling the plans to U.S. customers and shipping them on a USB drive, he will technically comply with the federal export law prohibiting international distribution of the 3-D gun blueprints, but will defy the judge’s intent – to keep the plans out of the hands of the public.
“Today I want to clarify, anyone who wants these files will get them—I’ll sell them, I’ll ship them,” Wilson said.
Wilson told CBS This Morning the fight is a matter of principle.
“I know it’s absurd, to some degree, to fight for your principles in a culture like this, but I think it’s a worth demonstration.”
Wilson called the judge “hysterical,” noting that the information he’s trying to block is already out there. There’s no way to put that genie back in the bottle.
“The judges yesterday, besides being hysterical and all that, did not suspend [our operation] but wanted to unauthorize it,” he said. “Many attorneys have been saying we’ve been stopped; no one can print a gun at home. This is the stuff I had to read yesterday. But of course you can download this stuff, all this press coverage ensured it’ll be online forever. So the point I’m going to make: this order stopping us from giving away [files], prevented us from selling, emailing, et cetera—I will be doing all those things. My congrats to the attorneys general for saving Amer