In a landmark court decision, the Department of Justice conceded that uploading 3D-printed gun blueprints to the internet is legal.
The monumental decision comes after one man’s five-year battle with the government for creating a 3D-printed gun and sharing the blueprints online.
In 2013, inventor Cody Wilson posted blueprints for the gun to his website. As Fox News reported, the gun, called The Liberator, was “the nation’s first pistol built exclusively on a 3-D printer, consisting of 12 separate parts made from plastic and a single metal firing pin.”
Within two days of the blueprints going up online, over 100,000 people had downloaded them.
By the following day, the federal government contacted Wilson claiming he violated International Traffic in Arms Regulations by posting the blueprints and demanded he take them down. According to the government, Wilson was required to give them notice before he uploaded the “technical data.”
But after cooperating and taking them down, Wilson realized the federal government may have violated his First Amendment rights — and he was going to do something about it.
“We said no, we’re Americans. Americans have the right to access this data unquestionably and the internet is now the commons in the way that libraries were in the past,” Wilson said to Wired.
In 2015, he decided to take his case to court with the Second Amendment Foundation. And three years after filing the lawsuit, Wilson and SAF won.
Details regarding the suit came Tuesday in a press release from SAF.
I am pleased to announce that a settlement has been reached in @DefDist et al v. @StateDept. (I have served as counsel for @Radomysisky and @2AFDN since 2015). Press release: https://t.co/NnPyBiBJqD I will have more comment about our victory in due time. pic.twitter.com/bV4nSkcKoE
— Josh Blackman (@JoshMBlackman) July 10, 2018
“The government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue,” the release reads. “The government has 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.”
Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome of the suit.
“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” he said. “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.”
“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,” Gottlieb added. “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.”
In the past, Wilson claimed his 3D printed gun would “break gun control,” reports Fox News. And with his lawsuit win, he’s certainly dealt gun control a “devastating blow.”
“I barely put a million bucks into this and I got you the Second Amendment forever,” he said in an interview with The Daily Wire. “What has the NRA done for you lately?”
As for what Wilson will be doing with his freedom to publish his files and other information, he’s ready to get back to sharing his invention with the world.
“Our culture will not just be preserved, but will have a new life in the Internet,” Wilson told Breitbart. “The age of the downloadable gun has formally begun.”
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