3D-Printed Gun Creator Lands Book Deal

Posted: Jan 22 2014, 9:38am CST | by , Updated: Jan 22 2014, 9:40am CST, in News | Technology News

3D-Printed Gun Creator Lands Book Deal
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When Cody Wilson published the blueprint for the first fully 3D-printable gun on the web last spring, the controversy around that digital weapon led to its being downloaded 100,000 times in two days. Now Simon & Schuster is hoping the same sort of buzz can sell books.

Wilson, who leads the 3D-printed gun group Defense Distributed, signed a quarter-million dollar deal with Simon & Schuster’s Gallery imprint in December to write a non-fiction book chronicling his quest to create the first fully 3D-printable lethal weapon. Though Wilson says the book won’t be a “philosophical treatise,” he tells me he’ll use the opportunity to fully explain his ideological motivations for creating a deadly firearm anyone can download and print in the privacy of their garage.

The book’s working title is Negative Liberty, Wilson says, based on a principle of freedom from external restraints in libertarian political theory.

“The whole point to me is to add to the hacker mythology and to have a very, very accurate and contentious portrayal of what we think about the current political situation, our attitude and political orientation, a lasting remark,” he says. “It won’t be a manifesto. But culturally I hope to leave a couple of zingers…a touchstone for the young, disaffected radical towards his own political and social development, that kind of thing.”

Wilson says his proposal received highly mixed reactions from publishers, some of whom saw his attempts to create new ways to circumvent gun control laws as immoral. “It was pretty hot and cold,” he says. “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 first announced his intention to create a fully 3D-printable gun in August of 2012, describing it as a demonstration of government’s inability to regulate guns and other types of commerce in an era of distributed manufacturing and ubiquitous communication. In May of 2013 I watched as he hand-fired the world’s first fully 3D-printed weapon, which he called the Liberator, for the first time. Just days later, the State Department demanded that he take the blueprints for the Liberator off the Internet, citing potential violations of weapons export restrictions–a legal debate that has yet to be settled.

More recently, Wilson has focused instead on Bitcoin, working with a group of anarchist developers known as UnSystem to build a piece of software for the anonymous spending and receiving of bitcoins called Dark Wallet. But Wilson, who was until recently a law student at the University of Texas, expects that he may soon be embroiled in a legal battle with the government over his firearm 3D-printing project.

“At least now if I’m in prison I’ll have something to do,” Wilson says, mostly joking. But he adds, more seriously, that he may need the book’s advance to fund a court battle he anticipates over his publication of the Liberator file. “In the worst case, I can at least bankroll my own legal defense.”

Follow me on Twitter, email me, anonymously send me sensitive documents or tips, and check out my book, This Machine Kills Secrets: Julian Assange, the Cypherpunks, and Their Fight to Empower Whistleblowers.

Source: Forbes

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