A few weeks ago, the Department of Justice settled with Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed, clearing the way for 3D printed gun files—which had previously been prohibited—to be accessed online by the general public beginning on Aug.1. In response, the Attorneys General from Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia have consequently teamed up to file a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of State and Defense Distributed in an effort to block those files from going online at defcad.com.
Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who is leading the suit, claims the settlement violates the Trump administration’s settlement with Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed violates the Administrative Procedure Act and the Tenth Amendment. Ferguson wants the court to issue a nationwide temporary restraining order in order to stop the government from lifting International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) controls for these files.
“I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?” Ferguson said in a statement. “These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history. If the Trump Administration won’t keep us safe, we will.”
In addition to the lawsuit, the Attorneys General from 21 states—California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington State—sent a letter to the State Department and the Department of Justice, urging them to withdraw from the settlement and prevent online access to the 3D printed gun files.
Defense Distributed Fights Back
Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation, meanwhile, announced a lawsuit against the New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and L.A. City Attorney Michael Feuer on Sunday prior to the multi-state AG suit, citing “unconstitutional prior restraint” when they attempted to prevent online sharing of 3D printed gun files.
“What Grewal and Feuer are attempting is an unconstitutional exercise of prior restraint,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “They are trying to prevent Defense Distributed and its founder, Cody Wilson, from exercising free speech under color of law.”
“We have the right to publish this information,” Wilson also said. “And now the New Jersey Attorney General and Los Angeles city attorney can pay for it.”
Gottlieb sees this as a First Amendment issue.
“This is quickly turning into a classic First Amendment case,” Gottlieb added. “People publish all sorts of information online, but because this case involves technical information on production of firearm components on a 3-D printer, these anti-rights officials are trying to squelch it. We cannot allow this to happen.”
Prior to the multi-state suit, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro filed a separate lawsuit on Sunday to stop online access in his state to Defense Distributed’s 3D printed gun files. Speaking to Breitbart, Wilson said that the agreed to temporarily block access in Pennsylvania “as a concession to our judge” in the case “and a show of good faith.”
Shapiro has since added his name to the multi-state lawsuit.
When the DOJ settled with Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed, it appeared as though a three-year legal odyssey had come to an end. Now, it seems that the fight is just beginning. Stay tuned.