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Can’t Stop the Signal: 2nd & 1st Amendment Triumph



“This is a humongous loss for anti-gun Democrat State Attorneys General.”

Here at GGD and our sister publication Freedom’s Lodge, we’ve been chronicling the battle over so-called “ghost guns,” better known as 3-D printing. If you’re not familiar with the story, the short version is that a company called Defense Distributed has been publishing plans online that, when programmed into a 3-D printer, will allow the user to manufacture their own firearm.

The practice of making your own guns is, in fact, perfectly legal and has been ever since Roger Bacon figured out how to make gunpowder–as long as the resulting firearm is just for your own use. The practice of publishing information online is perfectly legal and has been ever since the First Amendment was penned. However, anti-gunners have been working overtime to try to find a way around the first two Amendments to the Bill of Rights.

They almost got their wish when 22 state attorneys general sued to force Defense Distributed to stop publishing the 3-D plans. They initially won their case. However, given those pesky first two Amendments to the Bill of Rights, that case has just been overturned. Here’s what the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) has to say:


The Second Amendment Foundation is applauding the Ninth U.S. District Court of Appeals for its decision to vacate an injunction obtained earlier in a lawsuit filed by 22 state attorneys general and the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, against an agreement between the State and Commerce departments and SAF and Defense Distributed allowing them to post data relating to 3-D printing of firearms on the Internet. The case is known as State of Washington v. U.S. Department of State.

“This is a humongous loss for anti-gun Democrat State Attorneys General,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “They consistently attack Second Amendment rights any way they can.

“This legal debacle was led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson,” he continued, “who became famous for suing the Trump administration in a series of partisan legal actions that cost taxpayers millions of dollars.

“SAF and Defense Distributed look forward to sharing technical firearms information with millions of interested people on the Internet,” Gottlieb added.

The Ninth Circuit panel remanded the case back to the district court with instructions to dismiss.

“I want to thank the National Shooting Sports Foundation for intervening at the Appeals Court level,” Gottlieb said. “Obviously, the intent of the lawsuit was to void the agreement State had with SAF and Defense Distributed via a final rule that would remove 3-D printed guns and files from the U.S. Munitions list regulated by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). SAF and Defense Distributed were not named in the lawsuit to avoid this becoming a First Amendment case. As interested parties, we tried to get the trial judge to realize this was about our First Amendment rights to exercise our Second Amendment rights, because we were convinced we would have won on that basis.”

Writing for the majority, Circuit Judge Ryan D. Nelson noted, “Because both the DOS and Commerce Final Rules are unreviewable, the States have not demonstrated the requisite likelihood of success on the merits…Congress expressly barred judicial review of designations and undesignations of defense articles under the Control Act and of any functions exercised under the Reform Act. Accordingly, the district court erred in reviewing the DOS and Commerce Final Rules, and its injunction is therefore contrary to law.”


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