3-D Printable Gun File Sharers Face Threats of Criminal Charges by NJ Officials

Defense Distributed’s legal troubles continue.

On February 2, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal threatened to use criminal prosecution on any individuals who share files that detail manufacturing plans for 3D printable guns.

Defense Distributed and Second Amendment organizations like the Firearms Policy Coalition have banded together in a lawsuit against the state of New Jersey.  The passage of S2465, a law which bans 3D printable guns, has spurred this controversy. S2465 specifically targets Defense Distributed and CodeIsFreespeech.com for their publishing of firearm-related files.

CodeIsFreespeech.com has been republishing gun files since Defense Distributed was forced to temporarily take them offline as a result of a previous injunction. Now CodeIsFreech.com’s files have also been taken offline until the current lawsuit is settled. S2465, which received praise from Attorney General Grewal, creates a First Amendment exception for information concerning firearm manufacturing. It is currently illegal for “a person to distribute by any means, including the Internet… digital instructions in the form of computer-aided design files or other code or instructions… that may be used to program a three-dimensional printer to manufacture or produce a firearm, firearm receiver, magazine, or firearm component.”

A broad-based prohibition, S2465 not only bans the manufacturing of firearms but also criminalizes information that details how firearms are manufactured. The penalties are stiff, with fines and imprisonment of up to 10 years for violations of this law.

Since the Trump Administration and Defense Distributed reached a settlement in 2018 that allowed the 3D printable firearm company to freely disseminate their files as of August 1, 2018, Defense Distributed has been mired in all sorts of legal problems. Eight states got the ball rolling by petitioning a federal judge in Seattle to issue a restraining order against Defense Distributed before the State Department’s agreement came into action. They would soon be joined by 11 more states who put even more pressure on the federal judiciary to take action against Defense Distributed.

These efforts eventually culminated with Federal judge Robert Lasnik’s decision to issue an injunction against Defense Distributed’s plans. This injunction blocked Defense Distributed’s previous settlement with the Trump administration that gave it permission to freely disseminate their files.

Knowing that the courts would take their time, states like New Jersey took the initiative by passing 3D printable gun bans of their own. Despite the obstacles in front of it, Defense Distributed has trucked along and is now fighting back against all attempts to undermine its ambitious project.

Founded in 2012, Defensed Distributed is one of the more revolutionary projects in the Second Amendment space, with the explicit aim of democratizing gun ownership. The political establishment and gun control fanatics nationwide will do everything they can to stop Defense Distributed. But time is on Defense Distributed’s side. As technology advances, it will become more difficult for gun control to be implemented.

And that should make any gun owner optimistic about the future.

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