First and Second Amendment challenge to government restrictions on posting plans for 3-D printed guns

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

The case, filed today on behalf of Cody Wilson's Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation, is Defense Distributed v. U.S. Dep't of State; click there to read the Complaint. I'm on the run today, so all I can do right now is link, but I thought many of you might want to read the argument for yourselves. The lawyers for Defense Distributed include Alan Gura, who won Heller and McDonald, and Prof. Josh Blackman. Here's an excerpt from the Second Amendment Foundation's press release:

The Second Amendment Foundation today joined Defense Distributed of Austin, Texas, in filing a federal lawsuit against Secretary of State John Kerry, the Department of State and other federal officials, seeking to stop the Government's unconstitutional censorship of information related to the three-dimensional printing of arms.

The Government's restraint against the publication of this critical information, under the guise of controlling arms exports, violates the First Amendment right to free speech, the Second Amendment right to bear arms, and the Fifth Amendment right to due process, the lawsuit alleges.

SAF and Defense Distributed seek to publish 3-D printing information at no cost to the public….

The lawsuit asserts the defendants are unlawfully applying International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to prevent the plaintiffs from exercising in free speech on the Internet and other forums. ITAR "requires advance government authorization to export technical data," the complaint asserts. There are criminal and civil penalties for violations, ranging up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million per violation.

Defense Distributed generated technical information on various gun-related items, which it published on the Internet. But it removed all the files from its servers upon being warned that it "may have released ITAR-controlled technical data without the required prior authorization from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), a violation of the ITAR." In June 2013, Defense Distributed submitted various published files to DDTC for review of a machine called the "Ghost Gunner." In April, DDTC said the machine does not fall under ITAR, but that software and files are subject to State Department jurisdiction….

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