Free Speech & Printed Guns with Cody Wilson
“What’s a desperate decision that can actually start a symbolic chain reaction? And then how do I pursue that? How do I do something like an artistic act or a creative object that could be received by an audience as this kind of provocation to initiate some type of chain reaction?”
— Cody Wilson
Cody Wilson is the founder and director of Defence Distributed and the face of 3D guns, and Jessica Solce is an acclaimed film-maker currently documenting his story. In this interview, we discuss the intersection of the right to bear arms and the right to freedom of speech.
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The first and second amendments are as symbolic of American identity as the stars and stripes. Yet, despite being bedrocks of the constitution for over 230 years, they are arguably now as fiercely contested as they have ever been.
Many republicans believe that the right to bear arms is a vital check on state control, and ensures the protection of the first amendment. A strong progressive counter argument contends that gun violence in the US is at epidemic proportions, and controls are required. This debate is becoming more profound due to the effect of technology, particularly the internet.
Julian Assange laid the foundation for using the decentralized and distributed nature of the internet to bypass the established gatekeepers of information with the aim of democratising its availability. Others quickly followed, including Cody Wilson, who saw the opportunity to provide open access to the digital tools needed to make guns – ‘Wiki weapons’ was born.
Despite the backlash by government agencies, it is becoming increasingly apparent that governance is unable to keep up with both technology and Cody’s responses to legal constraints.
This is not a new or isolated phenomenon. But as technology continues to push the boundaries of what power a single person is able to wield, it is stretching the limits of the social contract between the state and individuals. As a result, the forces pushing for individual autonomy and centralized control are becoming harder and harder to reconcile.
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