The executive director of Generation Progress, described by The Hill as a “progressive advocacy group,” told Hill.TV this week that the federal government should regulate “dangerous firearms” in the wake of a settlement between the Justice Department and Defense Distributed over online publication of 3-D gun technology.
Defense Distributed and Cody Wilson had been in a five-year battle over his free speech rights, after the DOJ ordered Wilson to take down information he had posted 3-D files online. The Second Amendment Foundation sued on his behalf some three years ago, during the Obama administration, and the settlement was announced earlier this week.
This evidently alarms anti-gunners. Generation Progress Executive Director Maggie Thompson told Hill.TV, “Congress has really hamstrung the ability for ATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] to track these things and this will make it more difficult.”
The 3-D technology could make it possible for people to produce their own firearms. Thompsons group, The Hill noted, “focuses on outreach to millennials.”
The SAF/Wilson lawsuit challenged the May 2013 attempt by the Obama administration to control public speech as an export under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), a Cold War-era law intended to control exports of military articles. But, under terms of the settlement, the government agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue. The government also agreed to pay a significant portion of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees, and to return $10,000 in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed as a result of the prior restraint, according to a SAF news release.
According to Alan Gottlieb, SAF founder and executive vice president, “Under this settlement the government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology.”
Wilson will, according to The Hill, “re-launch his 3D printable firearms website later this month.”
Included in the agreement, according to Gottlieb, is an acknowledgement by the government that non-automatic firearms of less than .50-caliber are not inherently military.
“For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort,” Gottlieb said in a prepared statement.