Supreme Court to Consider if 3D Printed Gun Plans Should Be Allowed to Be Shared

3D printed guns

Cody Wilson’s Ghost Gun-inspiring company, Defense Distributed, is seeking to have its day in court through a suit with the State Department. The suit has to do with efforts by the government to regulate 3-D printed guns.

The government has shut down Defense Distributed for its efforts to share 3D printing plans with people who can then build 3D Printed guns themselves. To be sure, Cody Wilson knows full well there are plenty of ways to share these files outside of the purview of the government, but Wilson appears to be using this case for two reasons:

  • One is to attempt to bring light of day cover to the proliferation of sharing effective 3D Printing Gun plans with people, encouraging the creation of more ghost guns by more people,
  • The other is to show – if the rulings don’t ultimately go in their favor – just where the coercive enterprise, the state, stands regarding the sharing of ideas that it deems too dangerous to be shared.

Defense Distributed is contending that the State Department has no right to stop it from spreading these plans on the internet, as the plans do not in any way help people break the law (since it is not illegal in America for people to make their own guns, so long as they are only making them for personal use).

They have been joined by an organization called the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights advocacy group.  The two entities are seeking an immediate injunction that would remove the ban on spreading the files which the State Department contends are in violation of International Traffic in Arms Regulations. The argument is the files will be shared to entities in other nations where home gun manufacturing is illegal.

On January 5, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation filed with the Supreme Court seeking an immediate injunction.

The State Department contends that the question of the merits of the suit (the very legality of the action by the government) is not relevant; that the only question to ask is if there is an immediate need for an injunction from Defense Distributed.

Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation argue that the precedent for considering the merits of the case when weighing whether an injunction should or should not be granted is well set, and that the lower courts erred by not considering that issue at all.

If the Supreme Court does not consider the case, then the injunction will remain while the merits of the case are being decided. The case, on that front, is being considered in Texas District court, but promises to eventually land in the lap – once again – of the Supreme Court who will have to fully address the merits of the case at that time.

What’s at stake here is a potential precedent that allows for the state to prohibit sharing data that enables action that is not illegal in the US but is potentially illegal in foreign nations. The final ruling will determine the degree to which individuals will have to turn to the “Deep Web” or be able to share information openly that could help facilitate the rise of the crypto-sessessionist.

Read More at Lawfare Blog

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Contributed by Paul Gordon of iState TV.

Paul Gordon is the editor of and co-host of numerous podcasts including VisPrivus, Lulzilla and Full Auto. He is also the publisher of a local digital newspaper, the Tioga Freedomist