The Texas law student who is running Defense Distributed (think: the Wiki Weapon) ran into some unexpected return fire.
It came from Stratasys, the company that made the 3-D printer that Cody Wilson had only just leased — with part of $20k he’d raised online. A crew of goons and a rented truck showed up at his door and took the printer back before he even got it unboxed.
A Stratasys shyster, whose name was redacted from the letter on Wilson’s website but looks from the signature to be something like “Claire Ryan,” wrote that Stratasys was repo-ing the printer because making a weapon without a Federal Firearms License is illegal.
She either didn’t look at the statutes, case law, and ATF rulings, or she couldn’t understand them. (The ATF says explicitly in an FAQ here: “[P]er provisions of the Gun Control Act (GCA) of 1968, 18 U.S.C. Chapter 44, an unlicensed individual may make a “firearm” as defined in the GCAfor his own personal use, but not for sale or distribution.” ) (Emphasis in ATF’s original, which goes on to show the statutory definition of “firearm”).
Funny, neither “Claire Ryan” nor Stratasys honcho and FDM co-inventor S. Scott Crump seem to have any problem with Stratasys machines in the nuclear-weapons and biological warfare labs of many countries (including North Korea and Iran). What’s the difference?
Oh yeah, Wilson blogged about it. Nork germ-warfare technicians got no blog. That’s alright then!
So it was legal malpractice. Or publicity shyness. Or something else was driving the train — politics? While the heads of Stratasys and even the rank and file employees of the Minnesota firm don’t seem to be political donors, the company has benefited hansomeley from modern crony capitalism,and might be susceptible to pressure from an Administration that’s been Stratasys’s happy candy man.
With any company as cozy with politicians as Stratasys, you can’t rule out corruption as a motive, but we’ll go to Occam’s Razor as usual, and say that the most probable explanation is incompetence.
- Buy, don’t lease, your 3-D printer.
- Scratch Stratasys off your short list now. Maybe they’re not the anti-gun activists they look like here… maybe they’re just stupid. But there’s enough stupidity around without you or us encouraging it by subsidizing it.
- When we find out who that lawyer “Claire Ryan” actually is, you’ll want to put her on your list of “stupid lawyers not to hire.” Because even if we’re wrong about Occam, and the explanation was politics or corruption, the stupid is strong with this one. (Cooley grad maybe?)
- Normally we wouldn’t call a lawyer stupid just on one blunder, but she did just start a dispute based on palpably false information with a law student from a decent school who’s patently quite clever. And she managed to libel him as a criminal in the process! That’s not smart for any non-sarcastic value of “smart,” is it?
Hat tip: BoingBoing