They don’t come along too often these days, but occasionally I read a book that really hits home with me. I am often very surprised when I read them, especially when they come from someone younger than me, but it does happen sometimes. And that is certainly the case with Cody Wilson’s 2016 book Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free. It was remarkably well written and provided real insight into the mind of Millennials and how they view liberty. Wilson was remarkably colorful in his literature as he traveled all over Europe and the North American continent from San Francisco, Austin and New York on a journey of self-discovery while taking on the basic understanding of legalisms insulating the federal government from the people they intend to rule. Wilson considers himself an anarchist in the book and takes readers on an almost cryptic behind the scenes look at how such figures think in their natural habitats of London, Austin and even Spain, but what I hear from the young man is a staunch Republican the way they were always supposed to be, and his journey of self-discovery from a sympathetic liberal to an Alex Jones conservative is quite fascinating, largely because he is working with an extensive vocabulary and a real knack for literature and understanding law.
As I was reading this book literally enjoying every page, I kept thinking of how they don’t give you ice in your drinks in London unless you ask for it. When you do ask they treat you like some second-class citizen which of course to an American is a real insult. Who in the hell doesn’t want ice in their Coke? When you go to a McDonald’s or a Burger King in England and you ask for a large drink, what they give you is what we’d consider a child’s cup in America and they think of it as “big.” And it’s not just England, I remember trying to get a large Coke in Paris and what they gave me was this little mini can of pop that was ridiculously small. It was gone in one drink from the can. It reminded me that Europe and America really aren’t compatible. Of course, the rest of the world views both as part of the western world, but the differences are quite extreme and as Cody Wilson reported in his book Come and Take It, he was advised to print something else on his 3D printers, not guns, because Europeans didn’t like them.
Yet that is the point of Come and Take It, Americans love their guns because of what those guns mean and Cody Wilson has done something quite remarkable from a legal perspective. He is challenging in this book and his work at Defense Distributed the very legal foundation for any form of gun control. He’s not just doing what the NRA is committed to, which is preservation of the Second Amendment through activism and legal pressure on the Hill. Cody Wilson is attacking the legal premise for any gun control by a state, and I found him to make a compelling argument that makes a lot of sense. That makes his book Come and Take It one of the greats of American literature right up there with Ralph Waldo Emerson and Ayn Rand—because what he is challenging is a premise that has long been surrendered to all state-run authority and his idea of freedom is at the core of our very Constitution. His position is something that has been nagging at the back of my mind all of my life, but what he has managed to do is put a fine point on it and approach the topic as something we all fear to lose—access to the Second Amendment—but something we can never lose so long as we dare to live, and by the time I closed the book I realized he was 100% correct. He had figured out the answer to a long-mused problem in America, what does the right to bear arms mean and can it be regulated away? The answer is no.
When I first heard about Cody Wilson it was years ago when he first started trying to print a gun on a 3D printer. That is after all what brought so much attention to Wilson, was that he proposed that we were in the age of 3D printing and no matter what kind of gun legislation politicians could come up with that guns were here to stay forever in America, and the world, because the ability to make them and use them had become decentralized through technology. Only back then, I wasn’t too impressed with his Liberator as a weapon. Being made of a kind of plastic, I never had any thoughts that it would hold up as a weapon, so I didn’t pay it much mind. But that was me thinking of the problem in terms of the past, a past that I grew up in where things were manufactured at a store and purchased by driving to the store and picking up what it was you wanted. A society to a large degree decided how you would get those items, whether or not there was a road to even drive on to get to that store. So a certain assumption about the regulation of the manufacturing process was always on my mind. Yet we are living in the age of immediate gratification. My daughter was telling me that she was having her groceries delivered to her house the other day because she didn’t have time to go and that seemed odd to me. There are so many things that you can get brought to your home now, everything from movies to any information in all the most well stocked libraries in the world—everything is literally at our fingertips, and it is happening so rapidly that no government can really hope to regulate it all. It has evolved beyond their control.
Wilson even diagnosis this issue with himself in the book, he correctly understands that the reason the federal government gave him an FFL to begin with is that he stated that he intended to sell firearms, which makes him a contributor to the state. If you contribute to the state’s coffers, they will love you, even if they hate you. Why is Sean Hannity not in jail, because he overpays his taxes. That is why he’s still on the air. Wilson managed to put real thoughts and definitions to this global problem in Come and Take It which was truly fascinating—and refreshing. Why is Paul Manafort in jail, because he sought to deny the state of income—its that simple. Yet how can the state properly regulate firearms when it needs the freedom of the people to perform in order for it to get its money. There lay the problems for the state in regulating firearms in any manner. If the state, whoever the state may be—America, Germany, or China—if they turn off the means for a people to be informed and protect themselves with printable firearms, they also lose the type of economy that produces other forms of great wealth for which the state hungers. Quite and interesting paradox.
Once Wilson won parts of his court case recently and got the attention of President Trump did I revisit some of his work and buy Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free. I figured it was worth reading since the kid was in the news so often these days. I wanted to know more about him. I was worried that he’d be one of these Antifa freaks, but as it turned out, he is quite a smart young man who truly does love guns and the Second Amendment. And that love of resistance comes out in this very articulate book that written by anybody else would have been boring and all too legal. Instead, colored by Cody Wilson it has become a work of art and law, and a philosophy that is taking America in a direction it was always destined to take. And gun control is not part of that future because control is not to the state’s advantage. The state needs the freedom of people to feed its massive appetite for taxes and wealth building. And so long as Cody Wilson operates his company Defense Distributed and makes his new Ghost Gunner milling machines, and pays his taxes, the reality of gun control is that it doesn’t exists and can never exist without crushing the very essence for which the state strives. And that is a realization that is very powerful.
Come and Take It: The Gun Printer’s Guide to Thinking Free is a remarkable book, a real treasure. If you haven’t read it yet, you should.
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