3-D gun paranoia spreads across legal landscape

On the heels of a failed attempt by gun prohibitionists to thwart online publication of 3-D technology related to the production of so-called “ghost guns” last Friday in Texas, attorneys’ general in at least three states have launched efforts to prevent it, and the developer of that technology is fighting back, with help from the Second Amendment Foundation.

SAF’s Alan Gottlieb in an interview with a reporter over the Defense Distributed 3-D gun controversy. (Dave Workman)

Defense Distributed, founded by Cody Wilson, and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a federal lawsuit in Texas Sunday against New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and Los Angeles City Attorney Michael Feuer in a case that is quickly showing signs of becoming something much bigger. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in Austin, alleges that Grewal and Feuer “have waged an ideologically-fueled program of intimidation and harassment against Defense Distributed.”

“Grewal and Feuer have threatened and intend to drag Defense Distributed before all manner of far-flung criminal and civil tribunals in an effort to silence the organization,” the complaint asserts.

At the heart of this issue is the online publication and distribution of “information and knowledge related to the production of arms…in promotion of the public interest.”

As the situation developed Monday, there was growing speculation that Grewal and Feuer might have company in the Texas lawsuit.

However, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson took a different tack Monday by filing suit against the Trump administration for agreeing to a settlement of the original case that SAF and Defense Distributed filed more than three years ago. Ferguson has earned a reputation for filing lawsuits against the Trump administration, especially over immigration policies.

With this new round of legal actions, gun control has once again leaped into the public spotlight. SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told reporters that this has become a serious issue for both the First and Second amendments.

While the 3-D gun controversy was erupting, SAF has its hands full with another important issue, the ongoing attempt by anti-gun politicians in several Washington state cities to erode the 35-year-old preemption law by passing so-called “safe storage” ordinances. SAF and the National Rifle Association have sued the City of Seattle, where liberal Mayor Jenny Durkan was quoted by the Seattle P-I.com that, “If they think we are intimidated, they are mistaken. I will continue to fight for our kids.”

Even Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat declared in a weekend column that the city has “gone too far and at just the wrong moment.” He said the ordinance is most likely illegal under the state preemption act, that puts all authority for gun regulation in the hands of the State Legislature.

There is also Gottlieb’s challenge of a new gun control initiative in the Evergreen State. That measure seeks to strip young adults of their right to purchase and own semi-auto modern sporting rifles, and it also appears to classify .22-caliber rimfire semi-auto sporting rifles as “assault rifles,” according to opponents.