Gun Control

Sen. Menendez Calls for Twitter to Stop Spreading Software That Can Help Make Weapons

Press release from Jersey senator asks Twitter to censor specific user @ivanthetroll12.

|

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) made a direct call to Twitter chieftain Jack Dorsey asking him to eliminate tweets from a particular user, @ivanthetroll12, as revealed in a press release from the senator's office earlier this month.

Ivanthetroll12 twitter

The letter read in part:

Dear Mr. Dorsey,

I write to express concern regarding Twitter's decision to allow its users to publicize links to downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed firearms. I ask that you take immediate steps to remove such links, as well as the ability to directly message these links from your platform….I do not believe one of the country's most prominent tech companies should be facilitating access to these deadly weapons….

On February 22, 2019 the user @IvanTheTroll12 tweeted his plans to release blueprints for a 3D-printed AR-15 firearm. The following day, @IvanTheTroll12 tweeted a direct download link to a website whereby anyone is free to download the blueprints….if foreign users are able to access the website and the blueprints, the publication of these blueprints violates the law. I urge you to take immediate action to remove the publication of the links. In addition, I would like to know what Twitter is doing to ensure that other users do not use your platform for such nefarious and potentially unlawful actions in the future….

The account (and its tweets) that bothered Menendez still exist, with the feed containing many other posts regarding different versions of software-enabled home gun manufacture, as well as tweets pointing out that for the vast majority of people who can't legally obtain a gun, black market purchase would be a far more obvious choice than the complications of making guns at home via 3D printers or CNC (computer numerical control) mills, which move and control machine tools via software commands.

The man behind the account says in an email yesterday that he's heard nothing from Twitter after Menendez called him out. "I suspect it'll just blow over at this point, I don't think they'd take this long if they planned to act. But who knows, maybe they are scheming a big TOS update."

But, he wrote, "I'm certain that if a printed gun is ever used in a crime that Twitter will crack down."

"Ivan" says he's not sure how Menendez came across his tweets. "I've tweeted at him since his letter to antagonize him, but had no interaction with him prior to his letter."

Menendez's office did not respond as of press time as to whether Dorsey or anyone at Twitter has responded to them regarding his March 7 release.

Ivan also insists that Menendez revealed a politician's typically thin understanding of the complications involved in connecting the spread of speech and information with a likely physical threat.

That is, the information Ivan is spreading (which Menendez's state of New Jersey has tried to mostly ban) is still a very long way from any object in the world existing. "You'd need 500k in machines (either a 5 axis CNC + lathe or a DLMS [direct metal laser sintering] metal printer) to make an entire AR15 from those files," he wrote in an email.

"The point in the files is that a) you could actually do it, and b) as with all reference models, it can be used as a base for modification or customization. Want to design your own 3d printed stock—take this AR15 CAD and use it to get all the measurements you need, and you will be saved lots of trial and error."

But, Ivan insists, "the fact remains it is a reference model—it is not 3d printable as the Senator suggests (unless you have 500k-1m dollars in DLMS setup, but you can buy truck-fulls of AR15s for that)."

Ivan wonders if Menendez's office is intentionally trying to confuse Dorsey and the public about what Ivan really did on Twitter. "I fully believe the Senator knows the files aren't printable (we didn't include any files that are set up for printing in the package), the readme disclaims that you can't print it, and the announcement tweet made it clear that it is a reference model."

He clarifies: His tweets and the links in them "makes the AR15 CAD public domain, it makes the AR15 an idea and not a physical item, but it doesn't make the AR15 printable. He knows this, and it posturing and pretending the files are something that they aren't."

Menendez's state of New Jersey passed a law last year trying to ban the transmission of software that could help instruct a home device to make a weapon to anyone not a licensed gun manufacturer. Defense Distributed, whose controversial founder Cody Wilson was called out specifically by the state's attorney general as the law's target, sued along with other Second Amendment interest groups to block enforcement of the law, which they think violated the First Amendment, the Supremacy Clause, and the Commerce Clause.

That particular case was tossed out of court in February by a U.S. district judge in Texas largely on jurisdictional grounds; he didn't think Texas was the proper place for the suit. While that dismissal is under appeal in the 5th Circuit, a separate suit along the same grounds was filed in February in federal court in New Jersey. In that case an initial request for a preliminary injunction against the state also so far failed and is on appeal to the 3rd Circuit, according to Alan Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, one of the parties to the suit.

Ivan, who did not want to reveal any other name, says he is not associated with Defense Distributed.

Advertisement

NEXT: First Gene-Edited Crop Coming to a Store Near You

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Hahahahaha, the politicians actually think they can control the dissemination of software. Good luck with that, chumps.

    1. I used to have a T-shirt with the RSA code on it – which was classified as a munition at the time. It prominently said “This T-Shirt is Classified as a Munition” on it.

      So fun to be subversive over something so mind-numbingly stupid.

      1. What happened to the t-shirt?

        1. Local bomb squad probably destroyed it in a controlled detonation because it was a ‘munition’

        2. Actually, it was 20 years ago and I got older and considerably larger. So it is long since in the dustbin.

  2. Ivan wonders if Menendez’s office is intentionally trying to confuse Dorsey and the public about what Ivan really did on Twitter.

    A United States senator and his staff unfamiliar with a topic they’ve latched onto? Particularly a topic of firearms and/or technology? Ridiculous.

    1. Ridiculous? Or tautology?

  3. get paid over $120 per hour working from home with 2 kids at home. I never thought I’d be able to do it but my best friend earns over 10k a month doing this and she convinced me to try. The potential with this is endless. Heres what I’ve been doing, AND GOOD LUCK.HERE>>>>>>….. http://www.Home.jobs89.com

  4. Of all the stuff in that article worth commenting on, the thing that grabbed me was that a Federal Judge in Texas said that Texas was not the appropriate venue for a suit about a law from New Jersey that specifically targeted a company in Texas.

    The reasoning as explained in the ARS Techinica article was as byzantine as you would expect.

    That seems like a pretty hefty burden to me – if a state wants to impose speech restrictions on an out of state entity or person, they have to go file suit in the offending state, giving them home field advantage?

    “We Californians don’t like all this pro-Trump speech online, so we are placing a ban on all pro-Trump speech. If you don’t like it, please come sue us here in California.”

    “We here in Alabama don’t like all your pro-choice rhetoric on line. So we are banning it as hate speech. Don’t like it? Come sue us here in Alabama”

    1. Unless the underlying point is the lack of jurisdiction all around.

  5. “You’d need 500k in machines (either a 5 axis CNC + lathe or a DLMS [direct metal laser sintering] metal printer) to make an entire AR15 from those files,” he wrote in an email.

    On any given day you can buy a completely assembled AR for $399, sometimes less. You can find these by going on a site called gundeals.com.

    There, much easier to post a link to purchase a cheap but serviceable rifle than a whole process for which you have to pay a half million plus hire someone who knows how to run it for you.

    Oh yeah, fuck you Menendez and all the slaver scum like you.

    1. Palmetto State Armory ftw.

      1. Laws yes.

  6. shouldn’t Bob be in prison?

    1. No. He’s a Democrat so journalists don’t spend any time reporting on or investigating his unethical corruption. They’re still busy investigating out how many traffic tickets Marco Rubio’s wife has had over the last 5 years.

      1. i like chicks who drive too fast i’d let that go

  7. Menendez sounds a lot like Reason’s very own Elizabeth Nolan Brown, who calls for you to be banned and ruined for life if you jokingly tell her to go make a sandwich.

    And to his credit, at least he isn’t (yet) calling for these people to be massacred in cold blood, like Reason’s very own Matt Welch says should happen to writers he doesn’t agree with.

    1. Lol, that’s not why you got banned, Mikey. “Ruined for life.” Being a Reason commenter means that much to you?

      1. Jesus Christ you’re bad at reading.

  8. Slightly related: I had no interest to view the Christchurch video at all…until a worldwide outcry rose up imploring people not to watch or share it on social media.

    Still didn’t even bother to search for it. Yesterday it came on my Twitter feed and I watched it just to see if the video wasn’t a spoof or sim due to the inordinate attention paid to viewing forbidden imagery.

  9. “if foreign users are able to access the website and the blueprints, the publication of these blueprints violates the law”

    Right. foreign users have to download AK-74 blueprints.

  10. More lawmakers attempting to outsource censorship. Let’s see how fast Twitter responds.

  11. I do not believe one of the country’s most prominent tech companies should be facilitating access to these deadly weapons.

    Feel free to believe that, Bob.

    1. Be careful with that, because what Bob believes might become what you’re forced to believe.

      1. Not as long as I have those blueprints.

  12. Twitter is a private company and has a right to censor their content.
    Just like I have a right to believe the snowflakes at Twitter are a bunch of censoring fascist assholes.

    1. Twitter is a private company and has a right to censor their content [user generated content so long as doing so doesn’t violate their contractual obligations to users].

  13. If Sen. Bob Menendez doesn’t like what Twitter is doing, he should definitely stop using their service.

  14. Corrupt piece of shit complains about freedom, film at 11.

    -jcr

  15. Doesn’t he have some Medicare fraud to enable?

  16. Once again the anti-gunners show their ignorance and penchant for hyperbole. So of course, you’re gonna get uninformed yet outraged Twits who tweet this nonsensical drivel:

    ?”This is enormously stupid and irresponsible. The only ppl who will be printing guns are ppl who want to kill others. So now you’re just assisting terrorists and psychos kill peaceloving ppl who couldn’t gaf and shouldn’t have to care about this in the first place.”

    Because anyone can just download these files and print crates of automatic weapon from home. Oh wait, what’s this?

    “You’d need 500k in machines (either a 5 axis CNC + lathe or a DLMS [direct metal laser sintering] metal printer) to make an entire AR15 from those files,”

  17. Technically an AR-15 is only the lower reciever. You absolutely can print one out with a regular 3d printer.

    1. I assume you mean the lower is the only part considered a “firearm” by the ATF and that requires a background check to purchase? You could technically print a lower with a normal 3D printer except the plastic used melts at about 280 degrees, The BCG and barrel will reach temps of 800 degrees which is the temp gunpowder burns at so the chances of it melting are high. However, technically you are correct. More important is the fact Menendez thinks anyone can 3D print an entire AR which is insane. Like all politicians, he just responds without all the facts.

    2. Technically an automobile is only the VIN plate. You absolutely can print one out with a regular 3d printer.

      The article is about the blueprints for a complete M16. A complete M16 is more than just a receiver, it also includes a barrel, a bolt carrier, firing pin, gas system. You can’t print those parts, they need be machined, which is why you’d need a CNC as mentioned in the article.

      Nor can AR-15 lower receivers be printed on an ordinary 3D printer. Receivers are aluminum. 3D printers use plastic. There are polymer receivers, but they require metal inserts for the screws. Those inserts would require some machining also, as well as fitting them into the receiver. It would be a whole lot easier to buy 80% receivers and finish them by hand then to try and print one and get it to work.

        1. Oh no, the Tweeter was right! Every psycho ‘can’ mass produce automatic weapons at home! We’re doomed!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.