A couple weeks ago, Second Amendment supporters rejoiced. The State Department settled a lawsuit with the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed, who released blue prints for people to create firearms with a 3-D printer.
SAF and Defense Distributed filed a lawsuit against the State Department under the Obama administration challenging a May 2013 attempt to control public speech as an export under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a Cold War-era law intended to control exports of military articles.
Part of the government's agreement was to allow Wilson's company to willingly publish 3-D files for personal use. The government also agreed to pay a significant portion of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees, and to return $10,000 in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed as a result of the prior restraint. Beginning on August 1st, Americans will be allowed to legally download blueprints for 3-D printed guns.
“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby. For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort," Alan Gottlieb, Founder and Executive Vice President, said in a statement. “Under this settlement the government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology.”
The Fear Sets In
Now, gun control advocates are worried about what 3-D printed guns means for the future of gun ownership in America.
“This online site shows you, how at your home, with a simple 3D printer, you can make a plastic AR-15, an AR-10, a very dangerous semi-automatic assault-style weapons out of plastic in your own basement,” Senn. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said at a Sunday press conference, the New York Post reported.
According to Schumer, this is a dangerous move that could arm prohibited possessors.
“The danger that could happen can be enormous,” Schumer said. “To have crazy people have easy access, to have terrorists have easy access to this kind of website and allow them to make plastic AR 15s undetected — so-called ghost guns — justifies the imagination.”
Of course, anti-gunners took to Twitter to voice their concern over the ruling:
If you can’t pass a background check, you shouldn’t be able to build a gun in your basement.— Giffords (@GiffordsCourage) July 19, 2018
While an overwhelmingly majority of Americans support background checks for firearms sales, access to untraceable, 3-D printed guns is widening. https://t.co/pNTdfVVpu7
This guy distributing plans to 3D-print semiautomatic rifles was losing in court—until suddenly the Trump State Dpt decided to settle and paid back his legal costs. Print-at-home guns go online Aug 1. Your tax dollars at work, folks. https://t.co/afE9cO5xLw— Ben Wikler (@benwikler) July 18, 2018
No licensing requirements; no background checks. No problem if you're a convicted domestic abuser. All you need is access to a 3D printer "and enough ABS plastic resin" to create one. https://t.co/abHdpeWXhM— Melissa McEwan (@Shakestweetz) July 23, 2018
No more humiliating way to go than a 3D printed gun. You're not only getting shot it's a huge fucking nerd who did it. https://t.co/dqBSbdJIPn— Luke O’Neil (@lukeoneil47) July 23, 2018
3D printed guns are being legalized as of August 1st. No background checks and won’t be detected in metal detectors. @POTUS even law enforcement is concerned about this!! Enough is enough.— Donna Vivino (@donnavivino) July 23, 2018
3D printers making guns for anyone who wants them is terrifying. In fact, 3D printers are terrifying. I mean, REGULAR printers are pretty scary too. I've set mine up like 5 times & it still always gets violently jammed.— Stephanie Mickus (@smickable) July 20, 2018
A petition on MoveOn was started, demanding that 3-D printed guns be banned.
Stop The Publication of 3D Printed Gun Technology
To be delivered to The United States House of Representatives, President Donald Trump, The United States Senate
With the Department of Justice's settlement of Cody Wilson's (Defense Distributed) lawsuit, the US Government has put the lives of all Americans at risk by allowing the technology for the 3D printing of guns to be widely available online. We the undersigned demand that Congress and the White House act now to prohibit the publication of 3D printed gun technology on the internet.
The petition currently has less than 400 signatures.