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Are Blueprints for 3-D Printed Guns Free Speech?

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  • Are Blueprints for 3-D Printed Guns Free Speech?

    Wilsonís gun manufacturing advocacy group Defense Distributed, along with the gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the State Department and several of its officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry. In their complaint, they claim that a State Department agency called the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) violated their first amendment right to free speech by telling Defense Distributed that it couldnít publish a 3-D printable file for its one-shot plastic pistol known as the Liberator, along with a collection of other printable gun parts, on its website.
    In fact, that legal team is attacking the State Department with more than just the first amendment: Its complaint also cites the second amendment, arguing that by restricting Defense Distributedís sharing of printable gun files the government denied the groupís members and followers the right to bearóand acquireóarms. And it questions the authority of the State Department to regulate the publication of technical data, a power itís long assumed it had been granted by Congress under the Arms Export Control Act of 1976.
    Of course, the State Departmentís two years of invoking ITAR against Defense Distributed havenít prevented its 3-D printable gun files from spreading across the web. Instead, a Streisand-Effect-like fear of government censorship helped spur more than 100,000 downloads of the Liberator blueprint in two days. By the time the file was removed from Defense Distributedís websites, it had already appeared on the Pirate Bay and other bittorrent sites, where itís become nearly impossible to erase. And in the years since, amateur gunsmiths on sites like FOSSCad and GrabCAD have continued to evolve the Liberatorís design and share their own blueprints for 3-D printable revolvers and rifles.
    Have at it, you legalese-speakers.

  • #2
    Originally posted by Paprika View Post
    Have at it, you legalese-speakers.
    I imagine that even a very conservative Supreme Court would find that the government has a clearly compelling interest in preventing the printing of untraceable guns, overriding a free speech defense. I'd say that the blueprints or code to manufacture such weapons is undoubtedly speech but it's speech that almost certainly needs to be curtailed.

    Not that doing so will really help ... if the government can't shut down piracy of new movies, it will have a difficult time keeping these kinds of files even from dumb and curious kids, let alone the folks with keen interest in untraceable weaponry.
    "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" ó Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Sam View Post
      I imagine that even a very conservative Supreme Court would find that the government has a clearly compelling interest in preventing the printing of untraceable guns, overriding a free speech defense.
      Sounds about right.

      Interestingly enough, according to the article the blueprints are not banned on the 'compelling interest' grounds, at least in terms of domestic threats to peace:

      In its 2013 letter to Defense Distributed, the DDTC cited a long-controversial set of regulations known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which controls whether and how Americans can sell weapons beyond U.S. borders. By merely posting a 3-D-printable file to a website, in other words, the DDTC claimed Defense Distributed had potentially violated arms export controls—just as if it had shipped a crate of AR-15s to, say, Mexico.
      It would appear that this ad hoc measure can't hold and that new legislation will have to be crafted, which will be interesting since I gather that personal manufacture of some types of firearms isn't illegal under current law.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Sam View Post
        I imagine that even a very conservative Supreme Court would find that the government has a clearly compelling interest in preventing the printing of untraceable guns, overriding a free speech defense. I'd say that the blueprints or code to manufacture such weapons is undoubtedly speech but it's speech that almost certainly needs to be curtailed.
        I think you are way wrong on this. I pray you are wrong on this.
        Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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        • #5
          I don't know if it's free speech, but it certainly shouldn't be regulated.
          Last edited by Jesse; 05-07-2015, 05:10 PM.
          "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Sam View Post
            I imagine that even a very conservative Supreme Court would find that the government has a clearly compelling interest in preventing the printing of untraceable guns, overriding a free speech defense. I'd say that the blueprints or code to manufacture such weapons is undoubtedly speech but it's speech that almost certainly needs to be curtailed.

            Not that doing so will really help ... if the government can't shut down piracy of new movies, it will have a difficult time keeping these kinds of files even from dumb and curious kids, let alone the folks with keen interest in untraceable weaponry.
            Just buy your untraceable guns from the cartels like everybody else. Your tax dollars already pay for the ATF to wholesale them, the ICE to let them in, and the DOJ to look the other way when they get sold.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Jesse View Post
              I don't know if it's free speech, but it certainly shouldn't be regulated.
              Parce que?

              Should the government not regulate such things because of the Right to bear arms? How would that fit with the fact that gun dales are already regulated and there certainly exists compelling reasons for such regulation?

              Cynically speaking, I doubt this gets any real work done until the first time an officer is killed with one of these things and the murderer can't be found. Hopefully, such a tragedy would finally spur desicive action.
              "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" ó Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                Sounds about right.

                Interestingly enough, according to the article the blueprints are not banned on the 'compelling interest' grounds, at least in terms of domestic threats to peace:



                It would appear that this ad hoc measure can't hold and that new legislation will have to be crafted, which will be interesting since I gather that personal manufacture of some types of firearms isn't illegal under current law.
                I agree... ITAR is an ill-fitting suit (har har). I have some doubt that the government will win on that basis. Additive manufacturing is going to cause a lot of these kinds of headaches in the near future, I think, and legislative solutions will be difficult.
                "I wonder about the trees. / Why do we wish to bear / Forever the noise of these / More than another noise / So close to our dwelling place?" ó Robert Frost, "The Sound of Trees"

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sam View Post
                  Parce que?

                  Should the government not regulate such things because of the Right to bear arms? How would that fit with the fact that gun dales are already regulated and there certainly exists compelling reasons for such regulation?
                  SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT NOT PUT HIDDEN CAMERA EVERYWHERE BECAUSE OF THE "RIGHT" TO BE "FREE" FROM UNREASONABLE SEARCH AND SEIZURE? HOW WOULD THAT FIT WITH THE FACT THAT CAMERAS ARE ALREADY UBIQUITOUS AND THAT THEY'RE THE ONLY ADMISSIBLE EVIDENCE IN COURT? BOO-YA, SCREW YOUR STUPID 'MUTUAL TRUST' AND 'OPERATIONAL JURISDICTION' AND "REALISTIC RISK" IDEAS, I JUST WOOOOOOON THIS ROUND!!!

                  Cynically speaking, I doubt this gets any real work done until the first time an officer is killed with one of these things and the murderer can't be found. Hopefully, such a tragedy would finally spur desicive action.
                  Have you, like, ever read crime statistics?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Sam View Post
                    Parce que?

                    Should the government not regulate such things because of the Right to bear arms? How would that fit with the fact that gun dales are already regulated and there certainly exists compelling reasons for such regulation?

                    Cynically speaking, I doubt this gets any real work done until the first time an officer is killed with one of these things and the murderer can't be found. Hopefully, such a tragedy would finally spur desicive action.
                    No, I wasn't speaking of the "Right to bear arms". I am speaking specifically towards the idea that every new technology must be regulated because it "looks" scary. If you decide to look closer into this, you will see these "guns" don't work. That is because the plastic that has to be used in 3D printers is too pliable to be used in a real firearm. You can't even create a good knife with one of these. Sensationalism aside, 3D printing will be good for small projects and probably nothing more. But that won't stop people trying to regulate something they know nothing about.
                    Last edited by Jesse; 05-08-2015, 03:37 AM.
                    "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Jesse View Post
                      No, I wasn't speaking of the "Right to bear arms". I am speaking specifically towards the idea that every new technology must be regulated because it "looks" scary. If you decide to look closer into this, you will see these "guns" don't work. That is because the plastic that has to be used in 3D printers is too pliable to be used in a real firearm. You can't even create a good knife with one of these. Sensationalism aside, 3D printing will be good for small projects and probably nothing more.
                      3D-printed metal guns are a thing.

                      In yet another move which may send shivers down the spines of law enforcement agencies around the world, while at the same time exciting techies and firearm advocates, Solid Concepts has revealed yet another 3D printed metal gun.

                      Just under a year ago, the company, which has since been acquired by 3D printing giant Stratasys, revealed the worldís very first 3D printed metal handgun, the 1911. Although there had been a number of interesting plastic firearms 3D printed up until that time, this metal firearm was the first capable of shooting several rounds of ammunition flawlessly. In fact the original 3D printed 1911 has since fired 5,000 shots without a problem, prior to it being retired.
                      Last edited by Paprika; 05-08-2015, 03:41 AM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                        3D-printed metal guns are a thing.
                        Nice looking prop. I am still not convinced. I would like to see them show a demonstration of this gun. I remember the last time they tried a demo of one of their guns, it didn't work out for them...
                        "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jesse View Post
                          Nice looking prop. I am still not convinced. I would like to see them show a demonstration of this gun. I remember the last time they tried a demo of one of their guns, it didn't work out for them...
                          I edited the post with more information.

                          Also, this:

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                            I edited the post with more information.

                            Also, this:
                            Thanks for that, Paprika. I was just looking for a demo of it.

                            Here is a bit of a fly in the ointment though, the 3D printer itself costs between $500,000 and $1 million. Obviously not something you can just whip up in your garage. Again, I find this more sensationalism than anything else.
                            Last edited by Jesse; 05-08-2015, 04:14 AM.
                            "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jesse View Post
                              Here is a bit of a fly in the ointment though, the 3D printer itself costs between $500,000 and $1 million. Obviously not something you can just whip up in your garage. Again, I find this more sensationalism than anything else.
                              Sure. But given that less than two years ago there were only 1-shot plastic pistols, I think that there'll be quite a bit of progress to come.

                              Comment

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