Wired Magazine's "Danger Room" named Wilson one of "The 15 Most Dangerous People in the World" in 2012. In 2015 and 2017 Wired named Wilson one of the five most dangerous people on the Internet. In September 2018, he was charged with sexual assault of a minor, in Austin, Texas, and was subsequently arrested in Taiwan.
In 2012, Wilson and associates at Defense Distributed initiated the Wiki Weapon Project to raise funds for designing and releasing the files for a 3D printable gun. Wilson is, to date, the only spokesperson on behalf of the organization, of which he describes himself as "co-founder" and "director".
Learning of his organization's plans, manufacturer Stratasys threatened legal action and demanded the return of a 3D printer it had leased to Wilson. On September 26, 2012, before the printer was assembled for use, Wilson received an email from Stratasys suggesting he was using the printer "for illegal purposes". Stratasys immediately cancelled its lease with Wilson and sent a team to confiscate the printer the next day.
While visiting the ATF enforcement office in Austin to inquire about legalities related to his project, Wilson was subsequently interrogated by the officers there. Six months later, he was issued a Federal Firearms License (FFL) to manufacture and deal.
In May 2013, Wilson successfully test-fired a pistol, called "the Liberator", reportedly made by a Stratasys Dimension series 3D printer bought on eBay. After test firing, Wilson released the blueprints of the gun's design online through a Defense Distributed website named DEFCAD. The State Department Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance then demanded that he remove the files, threatening prosecution for violations of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
On May 6, 2015, Defense Distributed and the gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation filed a lawsuit against the State Department claiming a violation of their first amendment rights to free speech. On July 10, 2018, it was reported that the company won this lawsuit and would begin again its work at DEFCAD.
In the wake of being charged with sexual assault, Wilson resigned from and ended all ties with Defense Distributed on September 21, 2018.
On U.S. election day, November 4, 2014, Wilson announced in an interview that he would stand for election to a seat on the Board of Directors of the Bitcoin Foundation, with "the sole purpose of destroying the Foundation." And Wilson stated: "I will run on a platform of the complete dissolution of the Bitcoin Foundation and will begin and end every single one of my public statements with that message."
In 2017, Wilson launched Hatreon, a crowdfunding site that provided crowdfunding and payment services for groups and individuals who were banned from crowdfunders such as Kickstarter, Patreon, PayPal, and Stripe. It was notable for featuring the controversial alt-right personalities Andrew Anglin and Richard Spencer.
Wilson said that Hatreon clients included "right-wing women, people of color, and transgender people", but according to Adam Popescu of Bloomberg News, "most" of the donations went to "white supremacists." According to Hannah Shearer, staff attorney at the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Hatreon users were inciting violence contrary to Hatreon’s terms of service, which forbid illegal activity.
The site claimed to have received about $25,000 a month in donations, an amount that was "doubling from month to month." Hatreon took a 5-percent cut of donations.
In November 2017, Visa suspended Hatreon and the site became dormant.
Asked during an interview with Popular Science if the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting affected his thinking or plans in any way, Wilson responded, "... understanding that rights and civil liberties are something that we protect is also understanding that they have consequences that are also protected, or tolerated. The exercise of civil liberties is antithetical to the idea of a completely totalizing state. That's just the way it is."
Wilson is generally opposed to intellectual property rights. He has indicated that although his primary goal is the subversion of state-structures, he also hopes that his contributions may help to dismantle the existing system of capitalist property relations.
In a January 2013 interview with Glenn Beck on the nature of and motivations behind his effort to develop and share gun 3D printable files Wilson said, "That's a real political act, giving you a magazine, telling you that it will never be taken away. ... That's real politics. That's radical equality. That's what I believe in. ... I'm just resisting. What am I resisting? I don't know, the collectivization of manufacture? The institutionalization of the human psyche? I'm not sure. But I can tell you one thing: this is a symbol of irreversibility. They can never eradicate the gun from the earth."
Sexual assault charge
In September 2018, charges were filed against Wilson for allegedly having sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old girl he met on SugarDaddyMeet, a website that matches older men with younger women. He is accused of committing a second-degree felony after paying $500 to the girl for sex in a hotel room in Austin, Texas in August 2018. Austin police said they were alerted by a counselor who had been working with the girl.
It is alleged that after Wilson was told that a police investigation was underway, he fled to Taipei, Taiwan, which does not have an extradition treaty with the U.S.