Below the Radar: The 3D Printed Gun Safety Act of 2019
Article first appeared on Ammoland.com
U.S.A. –-(Ammoland.com)- Some anti-Second Amendment legislation can be very deceptively titled, and thus slip below the radar for Second Amendment supporters. That is the case with this piece of legislation introduced by Representative Ted Deutsch (D-FL) will be discussed in this article – HR 3265, the 3D Printed Gun Safety Act of 2019.
Now, 3D printing of firearms has been a subject of debate since 2013, when the Obama Administration tried to misuse ITAR to halt the spread of the plans for making firearms using 3D printers. Defense Distributed secured a settlement with the State Department in 2018 that saw the federal government make significant concessions not just on First Amendment grounds, but also acknowledging that AR-15s and other modern multi-purpose semi-automatic firearms were not “weapons of war.”
However, state attorneys general with track records of anti-Second Amendment extremism filed a series of suits to halt the implementation of the settlement, relying on the same nonsensical “public nuisance” claims that were wielded against handgun manufacturers by big cities before the passage of the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act in 2005. That litigation is still pending at the time of this writing.
The title of Deutsch’s legislation makes it seem like it’s about making sure that any 3D printed firearm is safe. The title of the legislation is a lie. The truth is that Congressman Deutsch’s legislation would render the legal cases moot – by imposing a blanket ban on any publication of computer files that would program a 3D printer to make a firearm.
Like the Disarm Hate Act, this legislation attacks both the First Amendment and the Second Amendment at the same time. Each is pernicious in its own way: The Disarm Hate Act uses constitutionally-protected – albeit highly reprehensible – speech as grounds to deny Second Amendment rights and does so in an ex post facto manner.
The 3D Printed Gun Safety Act is more egregious. This law would make putting files on the internet a crime under 18 USC 922. Already, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewel has been trying to bully CodeIsFreeSpeech.com with the Garden State’s version of the law Deutsch has proposed.
The implications go beyond just the ability of law-abiding citizens to have the means to build their own firearms. While many do that as a hobby, as seen by the popularity of 80% lower receivers, there is more modern technology emerging from Defense Distributed that can make the hobby accessible to more people.
The eventual proliferation of this technology would have the effect of making the unjust gun bans like those proposed by Eric Swalwell and Beto O’Rourke impossible to enforce. This is one reason why the fight against Grewel is significant.
The other reason is that if Grewel can win this fight, it could set a precedent for other restrictions on the publication and dissemination of technical data related to firearms and ammunition. Like reloading? The data to safely take part in that hobby could be kept from you. Want to customize your firearm? You won’t be able to do that yourself.
What is particularly infuriating is that existing laws can address whether a criminal is touching any firearm, whether 3D printed or not. Grewel, like New Jersey Governor Pat Murphy, instead prefers to use the power of the state to harass and bully those who wish to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
Second Amendment supporters should contact their Representative and Senators and urge them to oppose HR 3265, the deceptively mis-named 3D Printed Gun Safety Act. Free speech and the right to keep and bear arms are both at stake.
About Harold Hutchison
Writer Harold Hutchison has more than a dozen years of experience covering military affairs, international events, U.S. politics and Second Amendment issues. Harold was consulting senior editor at Soldier of Fortune magazine and is the author of the novel Strike Group Reagan. He has also written for the Daily Caller, National Review, Patriot Post, Strategypage.com, and other national websites.