The right to print arms

We’ll go out on a limb and suggest that the Founding Fathers never envisioned a country where a wizard could print a musket out of thin air.

So the attention that Cody Wilson is getting today is providing the background for a fascinating constitutional argument about the Second Amendment and whether the right to bear arms extends to the right to print them.

He started a company that distributes the designs for untraceable 3D-printed guns and a judge has ordered him to remove them from the internet.

But they’re already on the internet and nothing can be erased in the whack-a-mole environment, so the argument is entirely theoretical.

“I know it’s absurd to some degree to fight for your principles in a culture like this, but I think it’s a worthy demonstration, and of course, I could always demonstrate, like today, that I can always sell these files. And I’ll continue to do so,” Wilson told CBS’s John Dickerson this morning, more than holding his own in the debate.

Wilson says he’s already sold thousands of the blueprints and he’s not concerned that his product could lead to guns in the wrong hands, as with the man who shot up a videogame tournament last weekend.

“Sure, I mean there’s always a possibility that people with a history of mental illness can get access to information and somehow do something bad with it. But we live in a nation of laws and you should prosecute crimes after the fact,” Wilson said. “You know, this gentleman who shot up this game tournament in Florida legally bought that firearm. The law is there to prevent bad things from happening but to do no more than that.”

Wilson wasn’t asked an important question: What kind of person needs a gun that isn’t traceable?

More: After court order, 3D-printed gun pioneer now sells pay-what-you-want CAD files (Ars Technica)