Because of that, I find it hard to believe this proposed ruling actually says what's being reported.
The idea that posting something on the internet is going to become classified as an "Export" is not new to me. We not only can't post things on the Internet about defense-related products, we can't put them on our company intranet that is completely isolated from the outside world. Because we have facilities all around the world, including places that most of us would think could be troublesome (like the PRC), and we also have people in the US who are foreign nationals. We have to be careful not to allow access to this Technical Data to just anyone in those categories.
Of course, I'm not a lawyer and I don't even play one here much less than TV, but the way I read this is that it's aimed at Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed. You know the Tyrants HAAAAATE GhostGunner.net. This is how they attack them. With the kind of lawbreaking they went through in the case against The Silk Road, (minor example 1, minor example 2, egregious example) you know they're going to try something.
There are two important points here. They say
"In their current form, the ITAR do not (as a rule) regulate technical data that are in what the regulations call the 'public domain.' Essentially, this means data 'which is published and which is generally accessible or available to the public' through a variety of specified means. These include 'at libraries open to the public or from which the public can obtain documents.'and
Some State Department officials now insist that anything published online in a generally-accessible location has essentially been 'exported,' as it would be accessible to foreign nationals both in the U.S. and overseas.That's saying anything that already exists online or is generally accessible to the public has already been exported.
But the story we're getting is that if you tell someone how to clean their AR, that's a violation of ITAR. The way I read this, they're saying something that appears in books in libraries is already in the public domain and has already been exported. They are not seeking to regulate this. Does ITAR cover information about the AR-15? If there's anything left that you can't find in half a dozen books, sure. Does ITAR cover something like cleaning an AR that's already out there in all kinds of public information? I can't imagine how that could be. How about your favorite load for 5.56 NATO? If you tell someone, "I had good success with 27 grains of Varget and a 55 grain FMJBT bullet" - maybe. If you tell them, "I had good success with the 27 grains of Varget and a 55 grain FMJBT bullet load from page 223 of the Speer Reloading Manual"; that manual has already been exported. Likewise if it's from a website full of custom loads. Because the full plans for an AR have been in the public (exported) for decades, I can't even see them going after you for posting how you built one. If you post that you like your SmithenSpiel 129 better than the Taurus Eagle 50, (or that "1911s rule, Glocks drool") there's no technical data there whatsoever.
What would you need to get permission for? Certainly a new gun design would. Or a design improvement for a military weapon. It's clear they're trying to stop more printable guns, receivers or other designs from getting into widespread circulation. You know that the revolution in small production is driving anti-gun regulators crazy. Just like the free speech of the internet drives them crazy. It takes away their control, and they're nothing if not control freaks.
In my comments to the proposal, I'm going to make an effort to come up with things that don't rely on the current line of arguments we're seeing. You can understand they won't like the argument that they can't stop the spread of 3D printed weaponry; it's against their DNA. I think the argument is that nothing gun bloggers talk about could conceivably be something to worry about.