The entire 3D printed guns kerfuffle that was set off when Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed settled a longstanding lawsuit with the US Department of Justice has resulted in a nearly endless procession of news reports and commentary featuring jaw-dropping ignorance and misinformation about the nation’s gun laws.
Or it would be jaw-dropping, if it weren’t already so typical of the quality of both politicians and reporting by the mainstream media wherever firearms are concerned.
First, it should be reiterated that it is and always has been legal for Americans to make their own firearms for personal use. Similarly, it’s perfectly legal for anyone in the United States to possess files for 3D-printed firearms and to use them to create guns if they so choose.
And despite the attempts to keep Defense Distributed from making those files freely available via the Internet, those very files have been widely available for year. And still are. You can download them yourself right here.
Still, here are just a few examples of the blatantly inaccurate, pig-ignorant reporting that’s been the norm lately.
If you live in Pennsylvania, you can’t legally download a 3D blueprint for a gun.
After an emergency hearing in a Pennsylvania federal courtroom, Texas-based Defense Distributed agreed to block users in Pennsylvania from accessing and downloading 3D gun plans.
It also said it would not upload new files – for now. This temporary agreement comes after the U.S. State Department settled a lawsuit against the company to allow those gun plans to be put online.
Not only did they falsely report that it’s illegal to download the 3D files, they falsely reported that the State Department settled a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit was filed by Defense Distributed against the State Department.
Then there’s this from wired.com:
Wilson said that while the preliminary injunction forbade him to share the files online for free, it expressly allowed him to sell them. At a news conference Tuesday, Wilson periodically stopped talking to check his phone when a new sale came through.
This technicality, legal experts say, really does allow Wilson to sell his blueprints. The legally tricky part is verifying that his customers are all US citizens; if not, he’ll be in violation of US export law.
The “technicality” that Wired.com refers to is otherwise known as the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. However, the statement from Josh Shapiro, the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, puts Wired.com’s fake news to shame.
“Selling these files into Pennsylvania violates both our state law and the agreement Defense Distributed reached with the Commonwealth before Judge Diamond on July 29. Putting untraceable weapons in the hands of criminals presents a clear public safety threat to Pennsylvanians, which is why I am exploring all of my legal options to stop these sales,” said Pennsylvania attorney general Josh Shapiro in a statement to WIRED.
Shapiro claims he’s looking at options to stop the sales. Sorry, Josh, but you don’t have the authority or the power to do so. Those files have been available on the Internet for five years. And the First Amendment prohibits you from censoring speech, as you so desperately seem to wish to do.
Get ready for a lawsuit for violating civil rights under color of law, because that is exactly what you are doing.
Long story short, it’s perfectly legal in Pennsylvania for people to possess 3D gun files and to print their own guns, as long as the guns themselves are compliant with the state and federal laws. But let’s not let inconveniences like facts get in the way.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.