The controversial figure at the head of Defense Distributed, an Austin company committed to spreading blueprints for 3D-printing untraceable plastic guns, has resigned, but the work of the company will continue unabated, its new head announced Tuesday.
Cody Wilson, the company’s director, resigned on Friday after he was charged with sexual assault of a minor. Paloma Heindorff, a top official with the company for the past three years, said Tuesday morning that she has taken over his role — and the mood, she said, is “resilient.”
“I cannot be more proud of my team right now. We didn’t miss a beat. No one blinked,” she said at a press conference in North Austin. “We have no intention of stopping.”
According to an arrest affidavit filed earlier this month in Travis County, Wilson had sex with a 16-year-old girl at the Archer Hotel in Austin on Aug. 15 and paid her $500. The girl told authorities they had met on SugarDaddyMeet.com. After being arrested in Taiwan, Wilson was jailed in Harris County before being released on $150,000 bail earlier this week.
In the wake of Wilson’s arrest, the company “hasn’t seen a huge effect” on business, Heindorff said. Defense Distributed employs about 20 people, including contractors, she said.
“We’ve seen a huge amount of support from the community,” Heindorff said.
As the company’s work proceeds, so too does the legal onslaught against its work. Nineteen states and Washington, D.C., have lined up against the company in court, arguing that the plastic guns, which are untraceable and can pass unnoticed through metal detectors, would pose an enormous security risk. A federal judge in Seattle ruled in August that the company could not issue the blueprints for free, so the company opted to sell them instead — at any price, including $0.
Wilson, a self-described “crypto-anarchist,” said last month that if he couldn’t be the “Napster” of open source guns, he’d be the “iTunes.”
Those sales have continued, Heindorff said.
In a statement Wednesday, Wilson's private attorney acknowledged the shift in leadership.
"We expect that the company will continue to grow and do its work. In the meantime, we plan to focus on Cody's defense," attorney Samy Khalil said.