Facing criminal sexual assault charges, the high-profile leader of an effort to distribute digital gun plans resigned from his Texas-based company this week.
In an Austin press conference on Tuesday, Paloma Heindorff announced she was Defense Distributed‘s new director as well as CEO of Ghost Gunner, a sister company which markets a desktop CNC milling machine. With the company for the past three years as director of development and vice president of operations, Heindorff explained she was tapped as Wilson’s replacement.
“Cody Wilson tendered his resignation on Friday evening to focus on personal legal affairs,” she said. “Defense Distributed’s Board of Directors accepted his resignation and thus his role at the company has been completed.”
Wilson, 30, was booked into the Harris County Jail in Houston early Sunday on a $150,000 bond, after being expelled from Taiwan where he had reportedly fled once he was tipped off about charges stemming from a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old. A vocal pioneer in the field of 3D-printed gun files and the advocacy behind their dissemination, Wilson and DefDist has been fighting first the federal government and now a series of states and gun control advocates over the right to release such files since 2013.
Heindorff said DefDist, now without Wilson, will continue the fight. “I am extremely proud to say that over the past few days, the entire team at Defense Distributed has recommitted to enabling the sharing and publication of CAD and 3D printed files,” she said. “This resilience, I truly believe, can not only be characteristic of our company as a whole but also the ideas that we have worked so hard to promote.”
Heindorff, who said the company is still very much business-as-usual, is busy filling some 3,000 orders for their pay-anything 3D files shipped via flash drive and declined to answer questions about Wilson, directing questions to his personal legal team.
“We understand that there have been some changes at Defense Distributed,” Houston-based attorney Samy Khalil of Gerger, Khalil & Hennessy, currently representing Wilson, told Guns.com. “We expect that the company will continue to grow and do its work. In the meantime, we plan to focus on Cody’s defense.”
Gun control advocates said they would continue to press their case against an increase in the availability of 3D gun files.
“Cody Wilson was the face of Defense Distributed and 3D-printed guns, but we doubt that his movement will die with his resignation,” said Brady Campaign co-presidents Avery Gardiner and Kris Brown in a statement. “The Pandora’s box has been opened, and it will not go away with Wilson. Because of his actions, 3D-printed guns now pose a danger all over the world, from the United States to Europe to Taiwan. The next Cody Wilson is merely waiting in the wings, and we will continue to do everything in our power to combat this threat until it is no more.”