The U.S. State Department is continuing its crackdown on digital blueprints of 3D printable gun parts and weapons last week as the Department issued notices that there will be changes made to the International Traffic in Arms (ITAR) regulations which will ban the on-line posting of schematics for 3D printed gun parts.
The move follows last month’s filing of a lawsuit by the Defense Distributed group against the Federal Government which had forced the group to remove from its website blueprints of the “Liberator” 3D-printed gun.
Defense Distributed leader Cody Wilson said the forced removal was a violation of First Amendment Rights and that the latest moves by the State Department are in retaliation of the group’s lawsuit.
“This is a direct action on behalf of the Obama administration to control public speech about guns on the Internet,” he said. “They cynically redefine any posting of any technical data to be an ‘export,’ and thereby claim that it isn't speech. It's surreal and they're getting away with it.”
In the public notice, the State Department revised the meaning of export to “remove activities associated with a defense article’s further movement or release outside the United States.”, including “technical data” available on the Internet.
A Department spokesman said “By putting up a digital file, that constitutes an export of the data. If it’s an executable digital file, any foreign interests can get a hold of it. These proposed definition changes are part of our broader effort to streamline and modernize a Cold War era regulatory system to better safeguard against illicit attempts to procure sensitive U.S. defense technologies under Export Control Reform.”
The spokesman denied the proposed definition changes were in retaliation of the Defence Distributed lawsuit. He said there had been plans for such moves since President Obama announced an Export Control Initiative in 2009.
Defense Distributed is a not-for-profit group started by Wilson, a former University of Texas law student, who was the creator of the world’s first 3D-printed gun from scratch. When he published the gun's blueprints on-line, several politicians called for the banning of 3D-printed guns which lead to him being ordered to remove the blue prints from the Internet.
Founder of the Second Amendment Foundation,Alan Gottlieb said “Defense Distributed is being penalized for trying to educate the public about 3D guns.”