IRS Dragging its Feet on Defense Distributed Tax Exempt Status

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OK, this one is pretty funny. Defense Distributed are the guys who are working on the WikiWeapon project — 3D-printable firearms and magazines. They’ve seen some success so far, and all indications are that they will succeed sooner or later. In furtherance of their goal, they’re trying to be all legal and stuff, and have gone as far as to file for tax exempt status for their entity which would keep them from paying taxes and possibly make donations to DD tax deductible (as they are making no profit and are operating almost exactly like the Brady Campaign . . . only with an achievable goal). However, the IRS appears to need a little more time to decide if they qualify for that status. It’ll be extremely interesting if the IRS declines their application to see what reason they give, if they give one at all. And I’m sure the ensuing court case would be highly entertaining.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

19 Responses to IRS Dragging its Feet on Defense Distributed Tax Exempt Status

  1. avatarspeedracer5050 says:

    Typical IRS. They are going to drag their feet really slow since this a exemption request from a firearms business.

    • avatarWilliam says:

      While I mostly agree, “business” is a bit of a stretch. To my way of thinking, they’re something between a research outfit and think tank, albeit one that gets results.

  2. avatarMatt in FL says:

    The sad thing is that if they have to take it to court, it will eat up a decent amount of their limited funds. They’re a small organization, so unless they have an attorney willing to work pro bono, the legal fees could quickly add up to more than the taxes would have been.

  3. avatarBlehtastic says:

    Given current technology, http://www.cncguns.com seems to be a better option, but good on them for pushing the envelope.

    • avatarPascal says:

      What would be interesting for me is if one day we see this scenario:

      A criminal via some prison based work/job program becomes really good at using CNC equipment and is eventually released. Then some criminal enterprise sets up shop and purchases something like CNC Guns or 3D printing and starts making and putting out into the streets their own CrooksRUs Brand of firearms. bypassing 100% of the laws we have and making the whole thing untraceable.

      Everyone wants to eliminate the trade and sale of marijuana, giving the billions in illegal sales it generate, it will create a black hole and the criminals will now need to move to something else. Why not firearms?

      • avatarBob2 says:

        Unfortunately, criminals do not have to make their own even in countries with the most restrictive guns laws. A number of years ago, I had been a USAF SP (military cop) stationed in Europe. We were warned that a common way for criminals to acquire guns had been to ambush police and military. On a side note, working with the host nation police forces, I learned that these democracies with these highly restrictive gun rules tended to have the most abusive polices forces I have seen outside the third world.

  4. avatarJoe says:

    I’m missing something here… why should they be tax exempt?

    • avatarPascal says:

      Tax-exempt status is normally granted to individuals or organizations to which governments want to promote economic activity or social benefits. This action thus reduces the tax burden ordinarily required.

      These are organizations which make no profit but may yield some benefit to government, society or industry. There are more definitions but I am sticking to this one.

      The catch-22 for the IRS is this. In the POTUS SOTU he said he wants to setup all those “innovation hubs” across the USA. 15 to be exact. Some of what those hubs are doing are promotion and research of 3D printing technologies. Well, here we have something that fits that initiative but in doing so, they are doing it with research for building firearm parts.

      Does the science and research making these firearm parts valid for other industries, yes, especially the complexity involved. But, it goes against the administrations anti-gun policy as well.

      This will be interesting.

      • avatarAnon in CT says:

        There are way too many organizations which are tax exempt and are just thinly-veiled political organizations. Media Matters for America comes to mind, but it happens on both sides of the aisle, so it is not in any politician’s interest to make a fuss.

  5. avatarJohnnyNRA says:

    WHAT!

    .CON.RES.107 — Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high… (Introduced in House – IH)
    Expressing the sense of Congress that the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution.

    Whereas the cornerstone of the Republic is honoring Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution: Now, therefore, be it

    Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of Congress that, except in response to an actual or imminent attack against the territory of the United States, the use of offensive military force by a President without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress violates Congress’s exclusive power to declare war under article I, section 8, clause 11 of the Constitution and therefore constitutes an impeachable high crime and misdemeanor under article II, section 4 of the Constitution

  6. avatarJohnnyNRA says:

    Obama signed without prior and clear authorization of an Act of Congress the National De-fense Authorization Act

  7. avatarMr. Pierogie says:

    Gee, I wonder how long they’d be willing to wait when someone owed THEM money? Something tells me they’d be very quick to take action then, to make sure they get “their” cut, or else they’d threaten to throw people in jail for not paying up. But when you need something from them, well, that’s a whole new ball game. Shocking, I tell you, shocking!!!

  8. avatarJohnnyNRA says:

    Presidential executive power as Commander-in-Chief; limitation The constitutional powers of the President as Commander-in-Chief to introduce United States Armed Forces into hostilities, or into situations where imminent involvement in hostilities is clearly indicated by the circumstances, are exercised only pursuant to (1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces.

    The key one is number 3

  9. avatar1389AD says:

    Seems that others in the 3D printing industry have turned against them. No matter — they will carry on anyway.

    Article: 3D Print your own high capacity magazines and other firearms parts

  10. avatar16V says:

    This is what happens when little Johnny is raised being told that all his stupid ideas, that someone else thought about and discarded years ago, are “great!”. Couple that with some crowd sourcing from monkeys who don’t have the first clue about how anything is made, and voila!, you have the pathetically bad joke of Distributed Defense.

    He has accomplished what exactly? Some g-code to make a sub-par mag out of the lowest grade of thermo-plastic on a rep-crap? Wow. Made a lower from the same completely unsuitable material? Ooh boy. Maybe he’ll show us how to make a barrel out of play-doh next…

    There are people out there actually doing something of practical value. Things that can be made of big-boy high-strength epoxies and metals. Things that can actually be fired. For those who are actually interested in the field of making firearms, there are groups of guys who actually accomplish real stuff. Things that go boom more than once. They’ve been at it for over a decade now.

    This idiot punk is as useful to the hobby of home gunsmithing as Shai Agassi and Better Place were to the world of battery powered-cars. He is drawing a whole lotta ATF attention and giving out nothing of value to the community. He’s as sub-useless as Feminine Protection Spray Russia.

    Were he doing some useful google-esque project of digitizing all gun parts and putting up a wikigun encyclopedia of CAM guns- I’d be the first to throw him money and a parade.

    • avatarConrad says:

      Well, there is almost 200MB of CAD files available from DefDist…

      The reality is that the 3d printing industry should eventually develop stronger printing materials. When that happens, I suspect the reliability of these copy weapons will improve substantially. You can be sure the Feds and Congress are watching very carefully. I wouldn’t be surprised if the gun lobby makes their own noise to nip this as well.

      • avatar16V says:

        That’s my point, better materials for 3D printing already exist. Firearms hobbyists who have a clue are already using them. They’ve been using them for years. DD is a few ignorant kids and a bunch of hype, they are several years behind the curve.

        I can 3D print everything but the barrel right now. Just like hundreds of other folks who have actually been doing something. Unlike the weed-whacker grade thermoplastic you have to use in a repcrap, functional parts are made using better machines and better plastics – or printed with metal/epoxy blends. Not to mention the emerging DIY movement for laser 3D metal printing.

        Machinists have been digitizing gun parts for the last couple of decades. Once everybody with a few grand could grab a used CNC machine, it was game on. No, they don’t make a big deal about it, no they don’t do it on social media – they’re smarter than that. Why’s this little wanker using a repcrap? Because once he started running his mouth like a tool, the company that was leasing him a real 3D printer came and took it away.

        That’s really why this dolt and his acolytes grind my gears – not only are they accomplishing nothing – they are drawing lots of regulatory attention to a field that’s managed to avoid it.

  11. avatarSGC says:

    If any of those guys turn up dead…I’m just saying…tin foil hat time!

    I think what they are doing is great, as technology advances those designs will become much more viable with new print materials. 3d printers aren’t that expensive now either, and the price keeps coming down as with all tech.

    I hope the gun grabbers are pissing thier pants…

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