- Cody Wilson, known most prominently for touting his blueprints for 3D-printable guns, has been formally accused of sexually assaulting a minor.
- Wilson, who lives in Austin, Texas, traveled to Taiwan and missed a scheduled flight home after law-enforcement officials charged him with paying a 16-year old girl he met online for sex.
- Earlier this year, the US State Department dropped a complaint that previously blocked Wilson from publishing the his gun blueprints online.
Cody Wilson, known most prominently for touting his blueprints for 3D=printable guns, has been formally accused of sexually assaulting a minor, and authorities issued a warrant for his arrest on sexual assault charges.
Wilson, 30, was charged with paying a 16-year old girl he allegedly met on an adult-dating website $500 to have sex with him in July, a crime which constitutes second-degree sexual assault of a minor and could carry a 20-year prison sentence. and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison.
But before police in Austin, Texas could arrest him, they say he had already fled to Taiwan after a friend of the victim tipped him off that police planned on charging him several days prior. He also missed a scheduled flight back to the US to appear at a gun conference this weekend, according to the Huffington Post.
Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, had been in conflict with the US State Department for years over the legality of his blueprints for 3D-printable weapons, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world and are virtually untraceable.
In June, the State Department dropped an Obama-era federal complaint against Defense Distributed, which previously prevented them from publishing the blueprints on the grounds that the blueprints posed a national security threat by violating laws on foreign exports of weapons technology.
President Donald Trump responded to the government settling with Wilson by stating, “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
Trump’s statement created some confusion, as his own State Department allowed Defense Distributed to proceed with publishing the blueprints.
While a federal judge stepped in at the last minute to try and prevent Wilson from publishing the blueprints, the ruling only blocked Wilson from putting them online for free, not selling them. Wilson’s website now sells them for $10 a piece, and other vendors have selling their own versions, too.
The genie of 3D-printed weapons has effectively been let out of the bottle, leaving regulators to navigate the complicated First Amendment and arms control issues surrounding them.
It’s less clear what will happen to Wilson as he goes on the run to avoid facing serious criminal charges. The United States has no extradition treaty with Taiwan, meaning authorities have no process to compel him to return to the United States so long as he stays there.