Jan 10, 2018 | By Tess

As if American gun laws weren’t convoluted enough, 3D printed firearms, also known as “ghost guns,” are making regulation policies even more complicated and difficult to enforce.

In a recent development, Defense Distributed, a controversial online organization dedicated to designing and proliferating downloadable and 3D printable ghost guns, has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. State Department to challenge the latter’s efforts to regulate 3D printed guns and limit how they are distributed.

The suit is seemingly a response to the government requesting that Texas-based Defence Distributed remove a number of files for 3D printable gun parts from its website. The latter is deemed illegal by the State Department under International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

In the United States, however, it is legal for citizens to create their own guns, providing they are for personal use only. On this basis, Defense Distributed believes it has not broken any laws and has not enabled Americans to break the law.

Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, has partnered with the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun rights advocacy group, to challenge the State Department’s decision as being in violation of its First, Second, and Fifth Amendment rights.

While elsewhere in the world, 3D printed guns and firearms are a more or less black and white topic—people are not allowed to make or own unregistered guns, therefore untraceable 3D printed guns are illegal—within the U.S. the legality of 3D printed weapons is complicated by the ever-controversial Second Amendment.

Cody Wilson, controversial founder of pro-gun Defense Distributed

Still, the State Department maintains that because Defense Distributed’s files could be shared with people in countries where DIY guns are illegal, that the files should be taken down.

Through their suit, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation are seeking an immediate injunction which would lift the ban on sharing 3D printable files intended for building weapons.

Presently, the case is being considered within the Texas District court for its merit, but could eventually end up in front of the Supreme Court. It is not clear whether the Supreme Court will consider the case before its merits are determined.

On a broader scale, the situation could establish an important precedent for the U.S. government to regulate and stop the sharing of files and data that might not be illegal in the United States, are illegal elsewhere in the world.

3D printed "Liberator" handgun

There is, of course, also the fear that further government regulation of what is shared on the internet will push people further into the Deep web. In any case, we’re interested to see how this one turns out.

This is not the first time that Defense Distributed has made legal headlines, as in 2015 Cody Wilson sued the State Department claiming that a 2013 order to remove the designs for the 3D printable “Liberator” gun was unconstitutional.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Rich wrote at 1/11/2018 7:01:41 PM:

where are the comments that have been already posted??

Geoff wrote at 1/11/2018 3:43:34 PM:

Cody's files and more are on every file sharing torrent site in the world.

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