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The Coming Wiki Weapon Wars

• National Review

Recently, Dustin Boyer, a very smart acquaintance and one of the thinkers behind the revolutionary but sadly non-existent Tacocopter, raised an interesting question for gun control advocates. Building on the ongoing 3D printing revolution, a small group called Defense Distributed has devised a 3D-printable plastic firearm (the “Wiki Weapon”) that they are hoping to make available to the public. Alexander Hotz of The Guardian reports the following:

Defense Distributed has applied to the IRS to become a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that will focus on “charitable public interest publishing” – or distributing schematics of the weapons online for free. A new research and development limited liability company called Liberty Laboratories will manufacture and test the guns. A third company, the name of which Wilson would not provide, will manage the finances of the project as a private asset organization.

It seems that Defense Distributed is embracing an open-source model, in which the Wiki Weapon will give rise to a community of modders who will improve on and otherwise alter the original concept, setting off a wave of consumer-led innovations. Now for Dustin’s question: how should gun control advocates react to the proliferation of ultra-cheap Wiki Weapons? One assumes that gun control advocates will seek to ban Wiki Weapons, yet it is not obvious that a ban would stop the spread of a technology that will be as accessible as 3D printing, which is becoming more accessible by the day.

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