By Tyler Bauer
3D Printed Guns
A few years ago, a company called Defense Distributed began offering a 3D printed gun – called the Liberator – for download. Almost immediately, the State Department moved to take down Defense Distributed, claiming Defense Distributed violated the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR). The State Department argued that, since these guns were posted online, they were effectively exported to other countries.
In the end, Defense Distributed and the State Department reached a settlement. In the settlement, it was determined that Defense Distributed – which was supported in the case by the Department of Justice and the Second Amendment Foundation – would be allowed to share 3D printed guns. As of today, Defense Distributed can continue the sharing, uploading, and downloading of 3D printed guns. So, if you have a 3D printer, you can now print yourself a gun. (Or, at least, you're supposed to be able to print 3D guns. A federal judge from Seattle has decided that citizens couldn't handle this much freedom.)
Why are 3D printed guns allowed?
Defense Distributed will be allowed to share 3D printed guns online because preventing the sharing of 3D guns was a free speech issue. This is a free speech issue because the thing being shared are blueprints, not actual guns. In other words, all that is being shared is knowledge. Sharing gun blueprints does not necessarily mean guns are shared.
Due to the nature of the settlement, allowing 3D printed guns isn’t actually a Second Amendment issue – it’s a First Amendment issue. I whole agree with the logic of applying the First Amendment to this case. The government should not restrict the sharing of knowledge of any sort. However, I am somewhat worried that the Second Amendment was not used in the reasoning for the settlement. This should be a Second Amendment case because the right to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed (and yes, this right applies to 3D printed guns).
People are Losing Their Minds
CNN commentators are fearful of the consequences of giving Americans so much freedom. After all, 3D printed guns are untraceable and unregistered. Alyssa Milano, an actor who (apparently) is also a respected political activist, called 3D printed guns “downloadable death.” Somewhat surprisingly, President Trump also chimed in on the 3D printed gun debate, tweeting the following:
If you want to know more…
For more on this topic, I highly recommend listening to Episode 130 of Free Man Beyond the Wall. In this episode, Mance Rayder talks to Cody Wilson, who reached the settlement with the State Department that will allow 3D printable guns to be shared on the internet.
Also, many states are now fighting Cody Wilson on the 3D printed gun issue. So, it looks like this story is far from over.