Thursday, January 07, 2016 by Tim Brown
I confess that the first time I witnessed 3D printing, I was absolutely amazed. That amazement stepped up a notch when I saw a 3D printed gun, a 3D printed metal gun, 3D printed arms and brain tissue, and 3D printed houses! However, while some are taking advantage of the 3D printing industry, gun grabbers have had their eyes on 3D printed weapons, especially since Ghost Gunner arrived on the scene. Now, many activists and representatives are backing the technology, demonstrating that freedom always finds a way around tyranny.
At the center of the controversy is Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, someone we’ve told you about before. Federal agents seized control of his 3D printing information back in 2013, but that hasn’t stopped him from progressing forward towards his goal of making guns easily available to American citizens as the push of a button.
Siding with Wilson is Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie (R). Massie, along with 14 other Republican representatives filed an amicus brief on behalf of Cody’s company, which is a non-profit organization that designs weapons that individuals can download and then print on their own 3D printers.
Derrick Broze reports:
After months of delays, Defense Distributed filed a lawsuit requesting an injunction that would keep the Obama administration from blocking the posting of the blueprints for the “Liberator” 3D printed gun.
Massie stated that “the State Department’s improper and unconstitutional interpretation of federal law is likely to chill scientific and technological advancement in the United States.” The brief also noted that Massie is an MIT-trained engineer and inventor, as well as a Member of the Committee on Science, Space & Technology.
“We expect the Court to recognize that the State Department exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress and violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution,” Massie stated.
The day after Massie’s brief was filed, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit focused on protecting civil liberties, also filed a brief in support of Defense Distributed.
“The State Department claimed that publishing the files on the Internet could violate the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which controls the international export of defense-related technology. After suggesting Defense Distributed put in an administrative request to determine whether the files were, in fact, controlled, the State Department sat on the request for nearly two years—only acting after Defense Distributed sued. It then concluded that a license was required to publish most of the files at issue,” the EFF wrote.
The EFF’s brief also noted that “the scope of [International Traffic in Arms Regulations]’s prohibition on speech could apply to members of the press republishing newsworthy technical data, professors educating the public on scientific and medical advances of public concern, enthusiasts sharing otherwise lawful information about firearms, domestic activists trading tips about how to treat tear gas or resist unlawful surveillance, and gun control opponents expressing a point about proliferation of weapons.”
Massie and company were not the only ones to step up and be heard on the issue.
Ilya Shapiro and Randal John Meyer stood beside Defense Distributed in an article titled Government Can’t Censor Digital Expression Just Because Someone Somewhere Might Use It for Unlawful Purposes. That title is right on!
“Defense Distributed is not in the business of distributing arms,” write Shapiro and Meyer. “What it distributes, as properly recognized by the district court, is computer code in the form of CAD and other files. Code and digital files are speech for purposes of the First Amendment, as several federal appellate courts have recognized. Most importantly, simply because speech may be used for unlawful purposes by third parties doesn’t mean it loses constitutional protection.”
The CATO duo then point out, “Since the 1930s, the Supreme Court has consistently held that ‘the mere tendency of speech to encourage unlawful acts is not a sufficient reason for banning it,’ and that ‘[p]rotected speech does not become unprotected merely because it resembles the latter. The Constitution requires the reverse.’ Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition (2002). In the seminal case of Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the Court provided a baseline for judging statutes that ban protected speech because of the chance it could enable crime. Unless such encouragement is ‘inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action,’ it’s protected by the First Amendment.”
But there is still a further step I would like to see these representatives go and that is an attack on those gun laws that target guns, gun production and gun sales, as all of that is nothing more than an infringement upon the people’s right protected under the Second Amendment, where no authority has been given to government to write such laws.