This column has devoted a good deal of attention to Defense Distributed, brainchild of University of Texas law student Cody Wilson, and that group’s “Wiki Weapon” project, to design effective firearms that can be “printed” on consumer grade 3-D printers. The plan is to post those designs–free of charge–on the internet, so that anyone in the world with internet access and a 3-D printer (which grow both more affordable and more powerful by the day) will be able to bust any “government monopoly on force,” so beloved of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and statist politicians like U.S. Representative Gerrold Nadler (D-NY).
The project’s successes–having successfullydesigned a printable “assault weapon” lower receiver that can stand up to hundreds of rounds or more of full-power rifle ammunition, “high capacity” magazines for AR-15s and AK-47s, and even a fullyprintable (if quite rudimentary) pistol, have greatly alarmed those frightened at the thought of a citizenry whose acquisition of life and liberty preserving firepower is in no way contingent on the government’s permission–frightened, in other words, of shall not be infringed.
And so the statists are fighting back, this time with an economic attack. Defense Distributed was recently informed that JPMorgan Chase had unilaterally and without warning (or explanation) terminated their account, as had PayPal. This is what intrepid gun rights(and liberty in general) warrior Mike Vanderboegh coined an “economic Waco,” and it’s not the first time that this strategy has been used against those trying to provide we the people with the means to produce our own firepower.
It’s also far from the first attack Defense Distributed has weathered. The first deliberate hurdle was the shutdown of their crowd funding campaign (which turned out not to be much of a problem). Next, the company from which they leased their high-end 3-D printer abruptly canceled the lease, claiming that the project might have been “illegal.” Finally, after the revelation of the “Liberator” pistol, the State Department “requested” that they take their CAD files off the internet, supposedly over concerns about export laws.
Granted, much of the harassment of Defense Distributed, including this latest interference, cannot be provably laid directly at the feet of the government. Then again, a government official who has wielded great power in both the Clinton and Obama administrations has urged banks to attack more traditional gun manufacturers in exactly this fashion.
In the end, perhaps it matters little whether or not the corporate attacks on Defense Distributed were directly orchestrated by the government. This administration is a corporatist government, and both the administration and the corporations in bed with it benefit from a meek and servile citizenry–something Defense Distributed threatens to deny them. Ironically, they’ll pass their suppression off as “social responsibility,” and will do so without challenge.
Update: National Gun Rights Examiner David Codrea reminds us that JPMorgan Chase and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (specifically a key player in the BATFE’s “Project Gunwalker” scandal) have a very cozy relationship, said cozy relationship having been blessed from on high.