U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik on Monday extended a temporary restraining order, the Seattle P-I.com reported, against the online publication by Defense Distributed of “blueprint” information for a 3-D printed gun in what Alan Gottlieb at the Second Amendment Foundation called “legal acrobatics.”
Judge Lasnik’s order blocks the government from allowing Defense Distributed to post the plans online, which had been the goal of the company’s Cody Wilson. He had sued during the previous administration but earlier this summer, the Justice Department reached an out-of-court agreement that would allow the publication of the material.
Nineteen states, including Washington, had sued to stop publication, contending that the 3-D guns were “untraceable” and “undetectable,” according to Fox News.
Wilson’s lawsuit was supported by SAF, and it had become something of a First Amendment case. In his ruling, Judge Lasnik ruled that preventing publication of the information was only an abridgment of the First Amendment, not an abrogation.
“It is particularly disturbing that Judge Lasnik admitted that the court has decided to not fully explore all the issues because of its limited record,” Gottlieb observed, “while presuming that we have a First Amendment right to disseminate the CAD files. Then he caps it off by saying that our First Amendment right is only abridged, but not abrogated. That’s like saying the government is only stepping on your neck, they haven’t completely crushed your windpipe.”
Gottlieb said Lasnik’s ruling “involves some of the most amazing legal acrobatics I’ve ever seen.”
“He has accepted the plaintiffs’ claim that the CAD files are only available on the so-called ‘Dark Web,’ but that’s not at all accurate,” he said. “The files are available on the normal Internet, and now, thanks to the court, they are available by links in the court record.”
The 3-D guns have a mixed record when someone has actually produced one. Wilson’s model does contain metal components to comply with federal law requiring firearms to be detectable.
“If this case had to do with anything besides guns,” Gottlieb stated, “we all know that the court would stop this nonsense in a heartbeat and we wouldn’t even be talking about it. But because this involves publishing information about guns, suddenly the First Amendment is being treated differently, because the Second Amendment is somehow involved.”
Wilson earlier told Fox News that the 3-D plastic guns are “mostly curiosities.” Anti-gunners have argued that criminals would obtain a 3-D printer and manufacture guns as a way to get around gun control laws.
But gun rights advocates say that’s absurd because criminals only need to steal a gun or get one from someone else who did, rather than spend thousands of dollars on a printing machine for the purpose of manufacturing a single-shot handgun that may not work reliably.