Reason Podcast

Defense Distributed Lawyer Josh Blackman on 3D-Printed Guns and Free Speech: Podcast

Cody Wilson's attorney talks guns, speech, and "Lochner-izing the First Amendment."


"There's been a massive effort by both the federal government and now the state governments to stop Cody from putting information on the internet," says Josh Blackman, attorney for Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson, the self-described "anarchist" fighting for the right to post downloadable instructions for 3D-printed guns online.

"The efforts to silence people always fall on those who are outside the mainstream, those pushing the boundaries. And that's precisely what the First Amendment ought to protect," says Blackman, who joined Wilson's legal team in 2015 and also teaches constitutional law at the South Texas College of Law Houston. "The mere fact that this is code doesn't make it not speech."

I recently spoke with Blackman about the current state of Wilson's case and the fundamental constitutional questions it raises. In our wide-ranging conversation, we talked speech, guns, "Lochner-izing the First Amendment," and why Blackman thinks "the ACLU has been MIA" from the legal fight over 3D-printed guns. "If this case involved banning the posting of blueprints to 3D-print sex toys," Blackman told me, the ACLU "would be fighting to the teeth. But when it comes to guns, they're just not there."

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Audio production by Ian Keyser.

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