A decentralized network of gun supporters is mobilizing online. They anonymously share drawings, advice, and create their own community. And there is no easy way to stop them.
In the US, the network of supporters of printing weapons on a 3D printer is growing again - but now everything is different. Unlike previous attempts
to popularize weapons that can be printed on a 3D printer, this operation is completely decentralized. It has no headquarters, trademarks and a leader. And the people behind it believe that this state of affairs guarantees the inability of governments to stop them.
“If they want to come after me, they will first need to find me,” said Troll Ivan, a member of the group. “I am one of many like-minded people involved in this work.”
Troll Ivan is known only by his network pseudonym, and is the de facto representative of the underground organization of gunsmiths working on 3D-printers. Ivan says that he knows at least 100 people who are actively developing the technology of 3D printing of weapons, and says that thousands of people are participating in the network. And this loosely coupled network spans the world.
They communicate on different digital platforms - Signal, Twitter, IRC and Discord. They criticize each other's work, exchange weapon CAD files, give advice, tell about the theory and jointly develop new drawings. Printed weapons enthusiasts - sticking to similar ideas and political views on controlling the circulation of weapons - mostly meet on subreddits and forums devoted to this topic.
Ivan himself is only a small part of this network. He says that he comes from Illinois, and his age corresponds to a “college student,” but otherwise he does not mention the details about himself in order to keep a low profile. At the same time, he launched several stunning commercials
, demonstrating new spare parts for pistols that he printed in the garage, including the Glock 17 pistol frame.
The last video [ from YouTube removes the video, but the videos can be found on other hosting sites /approx.
] shows Glock 17 polymer frame at various stages of production in the workshop. Frames are voiced by fast music in the style of synthwave, and passed through a VHS-filter for greater aesthetics. By the end of the video, Ivan makes several shots from the finished gun, and the captions that appear while saying: “Everyone can do this”, “Live free or die”, “Let's try to stop it, dirty etatists
." He also uploaded a full CAD model of an AR-15 assault rifle onto a file sharing service. It is clear that Ivan is trying to provoke his detractors to the maximum.
In February of this year, Ivan and his group decided to call themselves “Distributed deterrence” [ Deterrence Dispensed, where deterrence is “deterrence from hostile or criminal acts by intimidation”/approx. trans.
], which is an allusion to the name of the company Defense Distributed [distributed protection], which was previously headed by Texas crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson.
In September of 2018 Wilson, who was 30, arrested and charged
with sexual harassment of a minor. He allegedly paid $ 500 for sex with a 16-year-old girl in his hometown of Austin (Texas). Naturally, this arrest completely brought Wilson out of the world of printing weapons on a 3D printer.Many of the people who admired him either disgusted or realized that his time was gone. He left the company
Defense Distributed, which was previously considered the main driving force behind 3D printing of weapons, since its foundation in 2012 Wilson was released on bail of $ 150,000, but he has not been in touch since then.
Defense Distributed has many other legal issues. Prosecutors in more than 20 states in the United States are currently suing the company - filed counterclaims - trying to undo the company's victory in court, which allowed the company to upload and share 3D-weapon plans online. All these processes are long and tedious (New York State has just passed a law
on banning weapons printed on a 3D printer).
But for the group of Ivan, Deterrence Dispensed, all this does not matter. They upload their files one by one to services like Spee.ch, a website for hosting media files that runs on the LBRY blockchain, and do not expect permission from anyone. They themselves make drawings for printing weapons, correct old ones, and distribute all drawings from Defense Distributed for free.
“Even if no government forbade me to do this, I think that I would still do it,” says Ivan. “Some get high on video games, and I like to spend time drawing all kinds of things in CAD.”
But Ivan is not just "draws things" in CAD. He distributes to everyone free of charge files that help any person who has a more or less decent 3D printer working by fusing method
(FDM, Fused Deposition Modeling) and certain tools, create a working gun. After downloading the CAD file, it is opened in a slicer program that translates CAD files into instructions that the 3D printer understands. Once the parts are ready, they can be assembled by getting a fully working weapon.
The drawings that Deterrence Dispensed shares with the world are so good, according to Ivan, that they are not just “workers,” they are of excellent quality. “Our AR15 is the best available to the public, without a doubt,” says Ivan.
Despite the active antagonism with the authorities, while Ivan had no problems with them. Closing his Twitter account forever achieved
Senator Bob Menendez from New Jersey, but so far everything has been quiet from the point of view of the law enforcement agencies and the government.
Ivan considers himself and other radical groups involved in the printing of weapons, for example, FOSSCAD, hobby lovers who wanted to create something “wrong”. He believes that the problems with 3D printing of weapons are overblown. He points out that although printed spare parts for weapons can be used to kill people, self-made weapons
have always existed and are probably more lethal. From his point of view, all this hysteria and negative reaction are directed to the wrong address.
“Believe me, as the person who printed the weapon. Making a semi-automatic shotgun 100 times easier, faster and cheaper than typing a regular gun. I can go to Home Depot and buy a shotgun for $ 8. "
In 2019, in the United States, in mass executions, 156 people were killed
, and in principle, the number of gun-related deaths is there is a 20-year maximum
. In March, a terrorist armed with two semi-automatic rifles and two shotguns killed 51 Muslims in Christchurch (New Zealand). Does the United States (and the rest of the world) need more weapons in such circumstances — self-made, printed or otherwise? Ivan thinks so.
“The police killed more people last year than were killed in all mass executions in the past 10 years,” he says. - We in America live in a society where there is always a risk that a policeman will kill your ass for nothing. And for this you don’t even have to pose a threat to it. A policeman can kill you, simply because he wants it, and he will get away with it. ”
He cited many examples of police shooting at unarmed black Americans, highlighting Stifon Clark. Clark, 22, was gunned down by the police
in his own garden when he had only a mobile phone in his hand. “I think it’s extremely important that everyone has the opportunity to have a gun,” continued Ivan. “Everyone should have the same legal opportunities as the cops who use them to control you.”
However, the facts are indisputable. Slightly more than half of deaths from firearms occur in six countries
, including in USA. And an analysis of Harvard University demonstrates
- the more weapons somewhere, the more killing happens there.
Opponents of weapons, of course, do not like the concept of a downloadable pistol. Avery Gardiner, one of the presidents of the Brady Campaign, said that the weapon printed on a 3D printer "represents a very serious threat to our security." After the court’s decision in August, Gardiner said: “There is already a wave of dangerous individuals trying to illegally post drawings on the Internet.”
Members of this decentralized society printing weapons on a 3D printer are often motivated by a mixture of libertarian
views and the pleasure of developing and creating real objects in a hobby. They upload drawings to the Internet, share them, improve the diagrams and facilitate the printing process, while remaining out of sight. Ivan declares that he is doing this out of love for freedom and radical adherence to the first two amendments to the US Constitution: freedom of speech and freedom to bear arms.
However, his radicalism comes to the point that he talks about the right to have our own Tomahawk class missiles
, saying that in his hands they would be safer than in the hands of the US Army and their allies - given the history of the random destruction of civilians by the military, including the wedding in Afghanistan and the school bus in Yemen.
Describing an ever-increasing list of civilians who died at the hands of the American military in foreign wars, Ivan often becomes more like a radical left-wing weapon than a right-wing fan that many consider him to be. However, he rejects any particular ideology, saying, “I am special and unique in myself.”
So far, Troll Ivan, Deterrence Dispensed and thousands of 3D enthusiasts for weapons printing, united by a worldwide network, have released a genie from a bottle. Unable to stop anonymous file sharing for 3D printing of weapons. Whether they hide behind the freedom in the process of this, or not, one thing is clear: it is too late to stop them.