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Cody Wilson, 3-D printer gun activist, out at Defense Distributed after arrest on child sex charge

September 25, 2018

AUSTIN — Cody Wilson, the activist who captured national attention by distributing blueprints of guns that can be made at home with a 3-D printer, has stepped down from the company after his arrest on charges he sexually assaulted a 16-year-old girl.

The company he founded, Defense Distributed, will instead be run by new director Paloma Heindorff, the company announced at a Tuesday morning news conference.

Heindorff told reporters that Wilson will not be involved with the company, but said the company remains committed to selling blueprints for the do-it-yourself guns over the Internet.

Wilson, 30, was arrested on the sex charge at a restaurant in Taipei City late Friday, according to Taiwanese media, and was released on bail of $150,000 from the Harris County jail on Sunday. He will be prosecuted in Travis County.

Wilson catapulted into the national spotlight in 2013 when he made the first fully 3D-printed gun and posted the blueprints online, downloadable for free. The guns have no serial numbers and can evade some some metal detectors.

But the U.S. State Department shut him down, and Wilson fired back with a First Amendment lawsuit.

Nineteen state attorneys general then jumped in and filed suit to stop Wilson from freely distributing the plans, and a federal judge ultimately barred Wilson from doing so. In late August, he announced he would still sell the plans directly online, and buyers could name their price.

On Tuesday, Heindorff said the company has received 3,000 orders for the blueprints so far. About 1,500 of those orders have been filled, she said.

The company has raised about $400,000 from supporters to fuel its fight in court. Heindorff said none of those funds will go to Wilson’s legal defense in the sex assault case.

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