Cody Wilson

Cody Wilson, 3D-Printed Gun Pioneer, Arrested in Taiwan

Wilson's passport was revoked following a warrant for his arrest in Texas for having paid sex with an underage girl.

|

Mark McDaniel/Reason

Cody Wilson, maker of the first 3D-printed plastic gun, has been arrested in Taiwan.

Wilson runs Defense Distributed, a company that deals in software and hardware to facilitate home weapon printing and machining. Earlier this week, Texas police issued a warrant for his arrest.

Wilson, they claimed, found a woman on sugardaddymeet.com, a website that requires all users to assert they are 18 or over, then met her and paid for sex with her. Police say the woman was actually 16, which made that act a violation of Texas penal code 22.011 (A)(2)(a), regarding sex with a minor, which is legally considered sexual assault regardless of consent or payment.

While Taiwan has no formal extradition treaty with the U.S., and Wilson was not said to have been doing anything directly criminal in Taiwan, the press there reports that he was arrested without incident because the U.S. had revoked his passport, making his mere presence in Taiwan illegal. (The U.S. government has the power to revoke the passports of people facing felony arrest warrants.)

Wilson was then, according to The New York Times, "delivered…to the National Immigration Agency" in Taiwan. It is expected to deport him to the U.S. to face those charges, which carry a potential 2 to 20 years in prison and $10,000 fine.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

102 responses to “Cody Wilson, 3D-Printed Gun Pioneer, Arrested in Taiwan

  1. Is it fitting that Cody Wilson was tripped up by the “your papers, please?” approach to immigration that is in vogue among so many anti-social, disaffected, gun-fondling right-wingers these days? Does anyone know what his position on “illegal aliens” was before he became one?

    1. While your point may be true to someone who actually believes those things, you can’t say that he deserves it for simply being in the same camp (gun lovers) as others who believe that. I love guns and hate the stupid concept that government should control people like that.

      Is it OK for me to list you with other things anti-gun people love, like genocide?

      https://www.reason.com/archives/2014/0…..-and-proud

      1. I’d add sanctity of marriage and the ickiness of prostitution is also in vogue among the right. So isn’t this just picking and choosing how to castigate Wilson just because?

        As I understand it, Wilson’s main contention was the inevitability of file sharing or the police state necessary to control everything from P2P to torrents. That the files are fire arms related is incidental. In a different time, the files could have been anything related to homosexuality. It’s not like censorship and state control has clear boundaries.

        Cheering Wilson’s arrest because guns just seems weak. As certain groups often lay the incarceration rate at the feet of drug war, the next highest category by far is weapon charges. And isn’t it ironic that the seeming champions of the oppressed are putting so many people in prison (exactly what did you think stricter gun control means)?

        1. I believe Wilson should have been arrested because creepy 30-somethings who troll for underage girls at pay-to-play sites should be arrested (and the police reports describe more than enough information to support an arrest). I believe it is likely to be especially fitting in this case because Wilson was tripped up by being an illegal alien, and he is a hero of the group that advocates an authoritarian “your papers, please?” approach and favors authoritarian, bigoted immigration policies and practices.

    2. Cody Wilson was an anarchist, so, you be the judge.

    3. Is it fitting that Cody Wilson was tripped up by the “your papers, please?” approach to immigration that is in vogue among so many anti-social, disaffected, gun-fondling right-wingers these days? Does anyone know what his position on “illegal aliens” was before he became one?

      You’re suggesting that he should’ve been allowed to stay in Taiwan without facing any charges?

      1. I am suggesting this right-winger was against illegal aliens until he became one.

        1. Seems awful presumptuous to just assume everyone else is as unprincipled and unscrupulous as you are.

    4. “Is it fitting that Cody Wilson was tripped up by the “your papers, please?” approach to immigration”

      This isn’t about the immigration of a non-citizen. This is about an effective substitute for extraditing U.S. citizens.

      You can oppose effectively extraditing U.S. citizens this way, even if you support open immigration.

      You can support effectively extraditing U.S. citizens this way, even if you’re against open immigration.

      Meanwhile, your delight at seeing people subjected to the coercive power of the state because of what they think is telling. Don’t let that mask slip too far, or people might see you for what you are.

      1. What are you?

        Here’s a hint: One of the differences between an authoritarian and a totalitarian is that where authoritarians want to use the coercive power of government to control what we do, totalitarians want the government to control what we think.

      2. people might see you for what you are

        Bwa ha ha ha ha ha. I think it’s far too late for that.

      3. subjected to the coercive power of the state because of what they think

        This guy’s problem derives from what he did (and what a creep he is), not because of anything he thinks. Even the most anti-social, belligerent, disaffected, intolerant icel should be able to recognize this. Thirty-year-olds should keep their hands off sixteen-year-olds.

        1. I don’t have to worry about this as an even older, married person, but telling a 16 yr old from an 18 yr old isn’t actually all that easy.

        2. I don’t have to worry about this as an even older, married person, but telling a 16 yr old from an 18 yr old isn’t actually all that easy.

    5. The real concern is: how racist is Taiwan?

      1. They are seriously lacking in diversity.

    6. [Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland] Is it fitting that Cody Wilson was tripped up by the “your papers, please?” approach

      So you’re saying that we should open borders to foreigners so that child molesters can escape justice?

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      1. I oppose bigoted, authoritarian, cruel immigration policies and practices.

        I blame my lack of support for right-wing positions.

        I favor investigation, arrest, prosecution, conviction, and prosecution of child molesters.

        I blame my morality.

  2. Now THESE accusations are “credible”.

    1. In a way, it’s a bit of a bizarre role reversal compared to the histrionics sans evidence of Title IX trials and parts of #MeToo.

    2. He is accused of having sex with a minor, despite going through a third party vendor who assured him he was legal.

      1. despite going through a third party vendor who assured him he was legal

        That sounds like a lesson plan from the Autistic Legal Studies program.

  3. “The press there reports that he was arrested without incident because the U.S. had revoked his passport, making his mere presence in Taiwan illegal. (The U.S. government has the power to revoke the passports of people facing felony arrest warrants.)”

    Not sure what I think about that, but it deserves our attention.

    Seems like punishment without a trial–if you’re already out of the country.

    1. Seems like punishment without a trial–if you’re already out of the country.

      Please clarify. I’m sure Taiwanese jail could be bad but holding someone awaiting trial is not at all unheard of in this country.

      1. I’m not taking about just in Cody Wilson’s case.

        Say you’re an expat living in country with no extradition treaty with the U.S.

        The U.S. government decides you didn’t pay enough in taxes so as to constitute a felony. They invalidate your passport.

        So the police arrest you, drag you away from your family, ship you out of the country your family is in, maybe leaving them without support, etc.–and you haven’t even been convicted yet?

        I understand the need to prevent people under an arrest warrant for leaving the country.

        Not sure I understand revoking people’s passports once they’re known to be out of the country.

        1. Are you under the impression that they don’t drag people suspected of felonies out of their homes and away from their families in this country?

          1. The families they drag them away from here in the U.S.–are they in the United States? Doesn’t the police need to either charge them with a crime or release them within 24 hours? Once indicted, aren’t the accused in the U.S. allowed to go back to their families while they wait for trial if they can make bail?

            What we’re talking about is like exile. Surely, you accept that exile is a punishment. Expats in other countries may experience this as something like exile–to the United States.

            Maybe think of it this way: Do you think American citizens have the right to be in other countries without the permission of the United States government?

            1. Expats in other countries may experience this as something like exile–to the United States.

              I see.

              Maybe think of it this way: Do you think American citizens have the right to be in other countries without the permission of the United States government?

              My understanding of this aspect of it is that the US is only half the issue here. They could revoke his passport in mainland China and it would up to the Chinese government to decide whether he gets picked up and sent back to the US. The US doesn’t get to snatch him out of his home, it just withdraws his ability to re-enter the country legally or move from one nation to another as a legal American citizen. Do I think an accused felon from another country has a right to move about his host nation freely? No. He doesn’t even necessarily enjoy that freedom in this country.

              1. Taiwan may have been a bad example, too, because while they don’t have an extradition treaty with the U.S., that may be about the lack of official recognition. I’m not sure about that, but . . .

                It’s not that Taiwan isn’t friendly to the United States. The United States may be the only thing keeping China from invading Taiwan. Maybe it’s just that the United States can’t officially recognize Taiwan in order to have an extradition treaty like that.

                Regardless, we’re talking about depriving someone of their liberty without a trial when we’re talking about revoking someone’s passport–when they’re outside the United States.

                I think a fair justice system requires that the police can arrest suspects and, further, that courts can compel testimony by witnesses. In Libertopia, the government should be able to do both of those things as a necessary precondition for protecting our rights and our contracts. What they’re doing in revoking a passport might be like that. I’m not saying I’m sure about this yet. I’m thinking it through.

                On the other hand, this kind of reeks of George H. W. Bush’s invasion of Panama to arrest Manuel Noriega for drug trafficking. Surely, there are limits to the government’s ability to use coercion in the name of protecting our rights. Revoking someone’s passport once they’re known to be out of the country may be a step too far.

                1. If you are a target, they will get you. Sooner or later, one way or the other.

            2. Do you think American citizens have the right to be in other countries without the permission of the United States government?

              The moral right? Yes, of course. In fact, no, the privilege of traveling abroad is one the government dispenses at its pleasure.

              Taiwan of course was under no legal or moral obligation to remove Wilson just because his passport had been invalidated. They chose to do so, for obvious reasons.

              Had Wilson asked for asylum, using the undeniably true basis that he was being persecuted for his political beliefs, it would have been interesting. It wouldn’t have worked, but it would have been interesting.

              1. “In fact, no, the privilege of traveling abroad is one the government dispenses at its pleasure.”

                Because the government routinely violates certain rights doesn’t make it constitutional or okay.

              2. the undeniably true basis that he was being persecuted for his political beliefs

                Reading the relevant police reports before commenting can prevent dumbassery.

        2. Not sure I understand revoking people’s passports once they’re known to be out of the country.

          I don’t see the problem. It seems reasonable for the US government to have the power to revoke passports. Note that passports expire eventually anyway.

          It is up to other nations to decide whether they will let foreigners without passports stay.

          1. Passports are supposed to let you back in the United States.

            Revoking such a thing in this case isn’t about that, and I’m not convinced that the government should be able to strip you of your identity like that when you’re in a foreign country either.

            1. Passports serve many purposes; they are also necessary to enter other countries and to stay in other countries. And they expire anyway.

              Furthermore, it is wrong to conclude that Taiwan kicked him out because his passport was revoked. Even with a passport, Taiwan could have (and likely would have) kicked him out simply because the US asked them to. All countries have the option of just declaring someone persona non grata for any reason or no reason at all.

  4. Is the girl being charged with fraud?

    1. I remain skeptical that a unanimous jury of Wilson’s peers will find him guilty of the crime if the prosecutor can’t show that he knew she was underage–beyond a reasonable doubt.

      I might also point out 1) that this girl wasn’t underage in 31 of 50 states, 2) that none of this should have any bearing on Cody Wilson’s business or suit, and 3) that there is nothing to learn from this about the larger gun rights movement.

      1. I remain skeptical that a unanimous jury of Wilson’s peers will find him guilty of the crime if the prosecutor can’t show that he knew she was underage–beyond a reasonable doubt.

        Wow. What if it’s a stunt? What if Cody Wilson gets put on the stands and starts talking about jury nullification, legal prostitution, consensual sex, etc.? What a fucking coup!

        And just to head you off at the pass: shut your mouth before you dash my dreams of libertopia.

      2. Will never get to trial. They will follow SoP – overcharge him so he is facing 100’s of years on dozens of charges, and as the act did happen (he did sleep with a 16-year old, knowingly or not), he will take a deal of some sort.

        1. Yup.

        2. But the act is not the crime being charged – doing so under knowledge that she was a minor is. The only way they can prove that would be if they can convince the witness to testify to that fact, and even thats thin- ice for the prosecution.

          1. Texas regards statutory rape as a strict-liability offense. According to Texas precedent, whether he knew she was underage is irrelevant.

            The statute literally says “knowingly” but it has in the past been read as knowingly having sex with a 16-year-old, not having sex with a girl knowing she is 16.

            Wilson has several outs:

            1. It’s a bizarre interpretation of the law. How many people unknowingly have sex at all, that the legislature would have made provisions for that case?
            2. It’s not clear that strict liability for a sex crime, where one could be convicted of a serious felony committed in the complete absence of mens rea, squares with Lawrence.
            3. The witness’s credibility is close to nil, since she is testifying to avoid prosecution and she is testifying that she lied to Wilson.
            4. He can simply go on the stand and say, “Yeah, she looked underage so I sent her home.” Without DNA and with the prosecution so wounded, I think he has cleared reasonable doubt.

            1. Interesting. Do you have link to this precedent? It seems contrary to any common sense.

            2. Wilson has several outs:

              . . . which read like an advertisement for The Dumbass School Of Law.

        3. as the act did happen (he did sleep with a 16-year old, knowingly or not),

          How do you know? I’m assuming the surveillance footage is accurate, but that’s all we know. I’d certainly like to hear his side of the story first and see the forensic evidence that he actually met her on sugardaddy dot com, as opposed to meeting her in some geek forum.

          1. Where he met her does not appear relevant to the issue of whether he committed a crime.

            If prosecuted in the state system, he appears to face a likely nominal term of incarceration of six to ten years if convicted, generating a few years in prison and a longer term on parole.

            If prosecuted by federal authorities, the situation gets tougher for him, with the prospective range of incarceration likely to approximate ten to fifteen years, nearly all of it to be served in a federal prison.

            There appears to be a reasonable prospect that Mr. Wilson will continue to act in a manner that aggravates his situation and increases his risk.

      3. If they find any of his actual peers, and don’t voir dire them all off the jury, I have no doubt that he’ll skate, because all of us anarchist motherfuckers would gladly acquit because prostitution isn’t a crime.

        1. “peers” means people who aren’t the government.

          The government shouldn’t be able to take your rights away, and juries aren’t the government.

        2. would gladly acquit because prostitution isn’t a crime

          ‘This is a simple case, so to summarize my totally awesome slam-dunk argument, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you must acquit my client of statutory rape because . . . prostitution isn’t a crime!’

      4. Intent NOT RELEVANT. This is STATUTORY rape. Any defense argument in that direction will be immediately shut down by the court – it simply does. Not. matter.

        Only solution is jury nullification. On that he stands a good chance. I was reading the story last night on Yahoo and in the first 150 comments or so, ALL BUT ONE expressed sympathy for Wilson and/or that this case looked an awful lot like a set up. I’m pretty sure that it was. The comments on the story at Zerohedge.com have some pretty plausible scenarios.

  5. I cannot figure out what the big deal is with this guy. The liberator plastic gun is crap. I would not want to shoot one. He seems more like a troll you tube star cashing in on fears from both far ends of the gun spectrum.

    So far as what he did with the girl. It always amazes me what people think they can get away with when they know they are in the public eye. It may or may not have been a crime or a setup but he is certainly an idiot.

    1. His lawsuit and his technology is setting the stage for a possible future in which people have a right to make and own guns without the government’s knowledge or permission.

      If Cody Wilson’s contribution is that he’s made it so that the government can’t enforce its gun laws, then that’s a big deal.

      It isn’t about the Liberator. It’s about the law and what it can and can’t enforce.

      1. I can get that but it seems there are at least three hypotheticals in that possibility.

        If a future printer can make such a gun

        If the laws change and the government makes all firearms illegal including self made

        If his lawsuit changes that possibility.

        Then it would matter but none of those things are happening now.

        Don’t have a problem with him but personally I am skeptical that much will come of it.

        1. If a future printer can make such a gun

          A current printer can make such a gun. We call them CNC machines. The only issue now is it’s not really affordable for the home user.

          If his lawsuit changes that possibility.

          The lawsuit is about speech. Does one have the right to communicate the information and plans to build a gun.

          1. A current printer can make such a gun. We call them CNC machines. The only issue now is it’s not really affordable for the home user.

            The issue isn’t the money as much as the skill. There are “home grade” CNC machines that are cheap enough to make making firearms at home a reasonable proposition. But it takes a fair bit of knowledge about not just the basic machine programming, but also fixturing, tooling setup, order of operations, and so forth.

      2. His lawsuit and his technology is setting the stage for a possible future in which people have a right to make and own guns without the government’s knowledge or permission.

        Americans have had that right for the past two centuries.

        The reason that right is under threat now is because of Cody Wilson and his bullshit.

    2. It was funny to watch him fuck with gun grabbers. You have tons of anti-gun stuff, and NRA stuff pushing back, and then he shows up with a big FU, says let’s go another way and make gun control unenforceable.

      I found it refreshing.

      1. You should send him some letters to him while he is in prison.

    3. Hiring this prostitute was pretty dumb. Hard to argue that.

    4. It’s all a political statement. I have one of his Ghost Gunners. I have previously (accurately) described it as a $2000 tool for turning $40 pieces of aluminum into $60 pieces of aluminum. (The price difference between an 80% lower receiver and a completed lower receiver.) The primary benefit, of course, being the intangible “no one knows it exists” nature of the “Ghost Gun”.

  6. He’s a good looking guy. He could easily hook up at the clubs. I don’t understand why he did it. He won’t make bail because he’s a flight risk. Gonna suck for a long time.

    1. You don’t pay them to have sex. You pay them to go away afterwards.

      That’s why marriage isn’t like prostitution.

      Divorce is like prostitution because you have to pay somebody to go away.

      1. You pay them to go away afterwards.

        That’s why marriage isn’t like prostitution.

        It’s the divorce that makes marriage like prostitution.

        1. Except it costs even more, but it’s worth it.

  7. All the news stories I’ve read tell me that they have him on surveillance going with the girl into the hotel. Well, all but one. I can’t remember which, but that news outlet told me that authorities claim they have him on surveillance.

    1. I doubt they have surveillance in his room. Unless they have physical proof, it’s he-said-she-said and they both have equal motivation to lie.

      Man, I wish I were Wilson’s lawyer. He seems like exactly the kind of combative person who would insist on a trial, rather than plead it down to whatever embarrassing misdemeanor bullshit they are aiming for.

      1. Man, I wish I were Wilson’s lawyer.

        Why? Do you fantasize about being the kind of lawyer whose tone-deaf arguments in a circus trial result in a conviction, then drives to the bar at 3 p.m. to tell awesome war stories as his client is shuffled off to prison for a 12-year stretch?

    2. I doubt they have surveillance in his room. Unless they have physical proof, it’s he-said-she-said and they both have equal motivation to lie.

      Man, I wish I were Wilson’s lawyer. He seems like exactly the kind of combative person who would insist on a trial, rather than plead it down to whatever embarrassing misdemeanor bullshit they are aiming for.

      1. Dude, they already have his search history and phone records, and phone call contents. How do you think that they knew to get the surveillance footage that quickly? Can you say “parallel construction”

      2. Actually he hasn’t said anything yet and neither has she. It’s not even he-said she said, it’s “lying pig from the most corrupt state police in the country said”

  8. Wilson was then, according to The New York Times, “delivered…to the National Immigration Agency” in Taiwan.

    I guess Taipei isn’t a sanctuary city.

  9. When you fuck with the man, the man fucks you back. Complete setup.

  10. Can they prove he had sex with her? Is her word enough for a conviction?

    Maybe he paid $500 for some cuddling.

    1. Normally, I would say this is accomplice testimony: the only person who can say it happened is someone who was a co-conspirator.

      It’s an unusual case, since the two were conspiring to commit a misdemeanor (prostitution), and the witness claims she tricked him into committing a felony against her.

      Finally, it’s 100% politically motivated.

      Not an easy job for the judge.

      1. There’s no indication this was prostitution. These girls say they need money for school and stuff. Mostly they aren’t having sex with the sugar daddies- they are usually paying for conversation. There’s a lot of lonely people out there. This according to a friend who did it for awhile (was a “sugar baby”).

        Remember we only have the words if a pig from a known corrupt agency to claim anything illegal happened.

        1. Had Mr. Wilson met the girl at a Dunkin’ Donuts and remained in the public seating area — especially had he stayed within range of cameras — he might have had a shot with the ‘we were just chatting’ approach.

          But taking an underage girl into a hotel room, after being recorded soliciting her for sex, and having that girl testify that sex occurred, capsizes any garrulousness-based defense.

  11. Wow, the Federal government revoked a passport over an unsubstantiated charge of statutory rape?

    I wonder if that has ever happened before.

    1. I’m sure that the “victim” swore out an affidavit.

  12. Seems a bit too convenient for this to happen now. That said, he’s clearly a fucking idiot.

    1. You assuming the lying pig isn’t lying.

  13. Plot twist

    He recorded everything that went on in non-public areas, bored her to death with hours of crypto-anarchy, and this whole thing was a charade.

    Who knows. He does seem like the type that would try some ruse to set up government agents to look like fools.
    That’s partly what the whole 3d-gun thing is about after all.

    1. If this turns out to be true I will straight up give him $100.

      1. Merely idle speculation.

        But what an epic troll it would be.

      2. If this turns out to be true I will straight up give him $100.

        Hells yeah!

  14. the press there reports that he was arrested without incident because the U.S. had revoked his passport, making his mere presence in Taiwan illegal. (The U.S. government has the power to revoke the passports of people facing felony arrest warrants.)

    Its amazing how the passport has become a ‘permission to leave’ card in supposedly free countries.

    Its amusingly ironic that people tell me if I don’t like America I can leave – until the USG decides that I can’t.

    1. It’s amusingly ironic that progressives are so hot on illegal immigration but get really angry when people they want to sink their claws into leave the US without permission.

    2. Technically it was the government of Taiwan deciding that it didn’t want someone in Taiwan without a passport, but since the US government is practically a de facto global government, then Taiwan wasn’t going to go against their wishes.

  15. “Send lawyers, guns and money.

    The shit has hit the fan. Hiya!”

    Warren Zevon

  16. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. At this point, we don’t even know that there was sex at all, or what ad he responded to if he responded to one at all.

    If this actually were some kind of political/legal hit job, it would be easy to create all the evidence against him without any wrongdoing on his part.

    1. I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. At this point, we don’t even know that there was sex at all,

      Watching birthers, climate change deniers, Info Wars fans, creationists, Pizzagaters, Benghazi enthusiasts, Deep State ranters, and Trump supporters demand more proof that Cody Wilson had sex with the minor he took to a hotel room and paid for sex that she described to a counselor (before he fled the country) is entertaining.

      Carry on, clingers.

      1. Is Mark 22 any of those things? Guess it wouldn’t matter to you if he wasn’t, so carry on.

      2. “Climate change denier”? an accusation of heresy from a religious nut who is scientifically illiterate.

        It’s amazing how smug leftists are given their complete lack of education and intelligence.

        Like so dumb they can’t even debate, are only able to engage in name calling like you have? and yet PROUD of it!

        Like it isn’t something you should be horrified and embarrassed about.

        1. What percentage of right-wingers are STILL birthers?

  17. Please explain to me how the police in Texas knew that Cody Wilson was using the site, had legal authority (ostensibly a warrant) to gain access in the first place, and knew that the girl was underage, and were able to act quickly enough to inflict maximum damage (why not wait until he returned normally)? This who thing stinks of a setup and government abuse.

  18. It’s painfully obvious passports are not a service the government provides but a means of control.

    They have abused this power so many times. It’s time to stop respecting their use of it.

    Cody Wilson didn’t suddenly stop becoming a citizen, thus cancelling his passport is a crime, a felony under USC 18-242

  19. What the fuck. Damn it dude. Walk the straight and narrow when you are trying to fuck the US government. Piss poor opsec.

  20. When people are asked to use gut instinct to stop real but rare horrors, relying on racial stereotypes and other biases tends to rule.

    Is that why the cops pulled a gun on my friend the day I moved him and his babby mamma into my town. It’s strange how one of the other regulars at the Wellness Center died of a drug overdoes latter that night in the Wellness Center bathroom.

  21. When people are asked to use gut instinct to stop real but rare horrors, relying on racial stereotypes and other biases tends to rule.

    Is that why the cops pulled a gun on my friend the day I moved him and his babby mamma into my town. It’s strange how one of the other regulars at the Wellness Center died of a drug overdoes latter that night in the Wellness Center bathroom.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.