What do Defense Distributed and its so-called “ghost guns” have in common with a virtual mosque as it relates to the state of New Jersey? Well, firstly, did you hear about the fight between the state of New Jersey and the Virtual Mosque LLC? The Virtual Mosque was distributing copies of the Qur’an via the Internet. The New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal subsequently declared unfettered war, bringing the full might of the state of New Jersey to bear on this single online entity.
Acknowledging the unfettered carnage brought about by Radical Islam, Grewal asserted that First Amendment protections did not apply to the Virtual Mosque. Distribution of this information online was simply too dangerous. He announced at a press conference that he was “coming after” the head of the Virtual Mosque, targeting this one company and this one man by name.
Grewal further stated that it was illegal for representatives of the Virtual Mosque to communicate with citizens of New Jersey. At a trade conference Virtual Mosque representatives had to scan badges to ensure that they were not inadvertently discussing Virtual Mosque business with New Jersey citizens. Not surprisingly, the Virtual Mosque responded in court.
Defense Distributed Gets a Big Win
If the previous scenario sounds absurd, that’s because it is absurd. Constitutional protections enshrined within the Bill of Rights restrict the power of government to regulate the free exchange of ideas regardless of how unpopular they might seem. It is such stuff that separates American from the Irans and North Koreas of the world.
However, swap Virtual Mosque for Defense Distributed. Now make the threatened Amendment the Second rather than the First. Then you have the ongoing war between Defense Distributed and Grewal. Freedom of Religion and the Right to Keep and Bear Arms are both comparably protected by the U.S. Constitution. It was simply that the great state of New Jersey launched their particular jihad against gun rights.
Last week, the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Grewal is “subject to the jurisdiction of Texas courts” in a First Amendment case brought by Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation. According to a release, “the case revolves around plaintiffs’ distribution of materials related to the 3D printing of firearms.” The release further states
Defense Distributed and SAF contend Grewal’s efforts to prevent publication of the information online violates their First Amendment rights. Grewal has been fighting to stay out of Texas federal court in this case. He is one of nine Attorneys General to file suit in the Western District of Washington to enjoin the State Department from authorizing the release of Defense Distributed’s files.
However, just before Grewal and his colleagues sued in Washington state, SAF and Defense Distributed filed their own legal action in the Western District of Texas challenging what they say is “select enforcement actions taken by the state Attorneys General.” Grewal, according to court documents, moved to dismiss “for lack of personal jurisdiction.”
Defense Distributed defines itself as the world’s first private defense contractor in the service of the general public. They distribute gun-released CAD files over the Internet. The Second Amendment Foundation is a grass roots membership organization devoted to the preservation of Americans’ gun rights. Their holy union has as its mission the distribution of pure unfiltered digital freedom.
The DD guys distribute digital files over the Internet that allow anybody with a 3D printer to produce a single shot pistol or polymer AR-15 receiver without government oversight. The argument could be made that this is the purest expression of Second Amendment freedom our country has ever seen. Small government acolytes Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Paine would undoubtedly approve.
In 2012, Wired Magazine declared Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson to be one of the top 15 most dangerous people in the world. The current Director of DD is an extraordinary English woman named Paloma Heindorff. Prior to taking this job Paloma had never fired a gun. The fact that Paloma is British, female, and not a gun nerd thoroughly unhinges her opponents.
No Laws Broken
Defense Distributed never did anything illegal, yet all the social media platforms banned them. Left-wing, freedom-averse oligarchs in tech and government decided normal citizens lacked responsibility to handle such power. Well, the Texas Fifth Circuit recently informed them they were quite simply wrong. Here’s an excerpt from the ruling:
“Grewal’s conduct beyond sending the cease-and-desist letter confirms his intent to crush Defense Distributed’s operations and not simply limit the dissemination of digital files in New Jersey. Grewal’s enforcement actions are selective. He has not targeted the many similarly-situated persons who publish Defense Distributed’s files on the Internet … Instead, he has focused solely on Defense Distributed.
“Perhaps nowhere is this better illustrated than in Grewal’s efforts to enjoin the national distribution of Defense Distributed’s files by suing in Washington, far from his or the plaintiffs’ home state. Grewal has also threatened Defense Distributed’s founder, Cody Wilson, by name, promising to ‘come after’ ‘anyone who is contemplating making a printable gun’ and ‘the next ghost gun company.’ Together, these actions confirm Grewal’s intent to force Defense Distributed to close shop.”
Defense Distributed pays its ongoing astronomical legal bills by selling the Ghost Gunner. The modest milling machine about the size of a fish tank finishes out 80-percent receivers at home. Its newest Ghost Gunner 3 completes AR-10, AR-15, AR-9, AR-45, Polymer80, 1911 and AK receivers. If you can manage a laptop, you can build a gun with the Ghost Gunner.
Building guns at home for personal use and not for resale is completely legal under federal law. So long as you’re not making a machine gun and barrel lengths are respected, Uncle Sam doesn’t care. With the kits available on the market today, you can build your own black rifle at home with nothing more than a drill and a router. The number of Americans who have built their own AR rifles in this manner is literally beyond counting. The Ghost Gunner just makes things easier and results in a more professional product.
Our opponents in the New Jersey state government hate our gun freedom along with everything we stand for. In New Jersey, it’s illegal to possess a magazine carrying more than 10 rounds. It is also illegal to possess hollow-point ammunition outside your home. The state even went so far as to attempt to criminalize the act of talking about Defense Distributed. How this trues up alongside “The Right of the People to Keep and Bear Arms Shall Not be Infringed” escapes me.
These “ghost gun” files are not even physical objects like magazines or bullets. They remain simply zeroes and ones arranged in such a way. But they propagate the idea free citizens do not need the government’s permission to exercise freedoms. Meanwhile, anarchist mobs burn neighborhoods and attack innocent Americans. Contemporary times make our Second Amendment protections more critical than ever before.
Ghost guns are not a problem. They never have been. The Honorable Gurbir Grewal should find himself a better crusade. For more information, visit defdist.org.