Judge Nap on 3-D printing: ‘This is a case about freedom of speech’

In the wake of a federal judge’s decision to grant a temporary restraining order (TRO) blocking a Texas firm from posting 3-D technology online with plans on how to make a gun on a 3-D printer, Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano predicted that ruling will be overturned.

Fox News Senior Judicial analyst judge Andrew Napolitano. (Screen capture, YouTube, Fox business)

Appearing on Fox Business, Napolitano explained “prior restraint” and why it is not okay under the Constitution, because it impairs the right of free speech.

“I don’t know where this is going to go,” the judge explained. “I don’t think…I just read the judge’s opinion a few minutes ago…I don’t think he adequately addressed the First Amendment issues.

“This is not punishing speech after it comes out of your mouth,” he continued, “this is preventing it from coming out of your mouth. This is something rarely, if ever done, in American history. But this judge has done it. I think he’ll be reversed by the Ninth Circuit.”

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The case revolves around an effort by Defense Distributed and founder Cody Wilson to post online the information necessary to create a gun on a 3-D printer.

Led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a group of attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia petitioned the U.S. District Court in Seattle to prevent the information from being posted online. On Tuesday, District Judge Robert Lasnik, a Bill Clinton appointee, granted a TRO, but scheduled another hearing on Aug. 10.
Ferguson was joined by attorneys general from neighboring Oregon, plus New York, Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

While Judge Lasnik’s order may be seen as a victory for anti-gunners opposed to 3-D gun design technology, it hasn’t prevented the information from being available. As Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, which supported the Defense Distributed lawsuit, noted, “The plans are out there… The computer code is being downloaded faster than a speeding bullet.”

The controversy has brought anti-gunners out of the proverbial woodwork to engage in what critics call “hysteria” over so-called “ghost guns.”

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s remarks during a press event are being held up as an example of factually-challenged rhetoric. Holding up images of two AR-15 type rifles, Blumenthal, a Democrat, declared, “Coming to a theater near you. Coming to a school near you, coming to a sports stadium, to any public place. These ghost guns are the new waved of American gun violence. You will see them around our streets, in our airports, our train stations. They are undetectable, untraceable—forget about the TSA guarding the plane that you board. These ghost guns are a menace. The failure to ban them will mean blood on the hands of officials who have that responsibility.”

The National Rifle Association’s Chris Cox, executive director of the Institute for Legislative Action, quickly responded.

“Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3-D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms,” Cox said.

“Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years. Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm.”—Chris Cox, National Rifle Association

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan released a statement, “I know untraceable and unregulated 3D printed guns present a real danger to the residents of Seattle…Because of Attorney General (Bob) Ferguson’s lawsuit, a federal judge has put this administration’s dangerous plan on hold and has taken a responsible step to protect law enforcement, public safety and our national security.”

But she should know about the 1988 law preventing “untraceable” guns.

Ferguson told reporters, “I am thankful and relieved Judge Lasnik put a nationwide stop to the Trump Administration’s dangerous decision to allow downloadable, 3D-printed ghost guns to be distributed online. These ghost guns are untraceable, virtually undetectable and, without today’s victory, available to any felon, domestic abuser or terrorist.”

He added, that allowing the information online “makes no damn sense, no damn sense at all.”

But Judge Napolitano added this perspective:

“Think about it. You can go into a public library, a library owned by the government and you can find a book telling you how to make a bomb. You can find a book telling you how to make a plastic gun. Why can’t you find that on the internet?”—Judge Andrew Napolitano, Fox News senior judicial analyst

Meanwhile, a California-based group calling itself Code Is Free Speech has launched its own website, complete with links to various files that contain information on the designs of several different firearms.

Code Is Free Speech is a project of the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, The Calguns Foundation, California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, and a number of individuals who are passionate about the Constitution and individual liberties, according to their website.

Wilson, in an interview with CBS News, said, “I believe that I am championing the Second Amendment in the 21st Century.”

He said access to firearms is “a fundamental human dignity, a fundamental human right.”
“What I’m doing is legally protected,” Wilson insisted. “I will go to the appellate level, I will go to the Supreme Court, I will waste all my time.”

 

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