Thursday, July 12, 2018

Possibly the Farthest Reaching News This Week

Something getting coverage around my blog list, but not much elsewhere, is the US Department of Justice essentially surrendering on its five-year-old case against Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed.   From the SAF press release:
BELLEVUE, WA – The Department of Justice and Second Amendment Foundation have reached a settlement in SAF’s lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed over free speech issues related to 3-D files and other information that may be used to manufacture lawful firearms.

SAF and Defense Distributed had filed suit against the State Department under the Obama administration, challenging a May 2013 attempt 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.

Under terms of the settlement, the government has 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 has 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.
The case against DD was that they violated ITAR (International Trade in Arms Regulations).  DD argued they weren't exporting guns, they were publishing software describing something and publishing software has been recognized as free speech.  As part of the settlement, the DOJ has promised to eliminate ITAR control over the technical information DD had put online and transfer regulatory control to the Department of Commerce. 

This is an outcome I never would have guessed at, but perhaps with a Trump DOJ instead of the Obama version and the very likely addition of a more pro-2A Supreme Court Justice, they felt they wouldn't win in the long run.

The biggest item might be this little gem:
Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber – including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military. 
This is the Department of Justice saying AR-15s, AR-10s and similar semi-autos are not "weapons of war", as has been the anti-gun talking point/sound bite since, oh, forever.  In particular, it has been the war cry of the Hogg and the Parkland kids since day 1, as well as the reliably pro gun confiscation groups like the Mommies and Space Cadet.  I can't see how the DOJ could enforce a ban on ARs now, since they just established the precedent that they aren't military arms.

Defense Distributed is promising a new beginning to downloadable guns on August 1st, putting all of their files on a site they're opening called defcad.  Cody Wilson describes defcad as, "a GitHub for guns".  (Github is a software developers hangout and code repository - tons of open source projects are there).

While metal printers are on the market, they're too expensive for the home market.  Plastic printers are available at a wide range of price points.  DD's Ghostgunner is apparently not available at the moment, but this dedicated CNC milling machine is supposed to be able to automatically find the critical points on an 80% AR lower (15 or 10) or an 80% 1911 and produce a finished receiver with minimal user input.  "At the click of a mouse" - which implies it comes with all the software needed. 


  1. That is huge. Thanks for posting this, I had not seen it.

  2. That is huge. Thanks for posting this, I had not seen it.

  3. I'd seen it posted, but I think your highlighting of certain aspects is excellent!

    "You Can't Stop The Signal"

  4. Declaring AR15 not inherrently military might not be a good thing:
    Miller v. United States, 307 U.S. 174, 59 S.Ct. 816, 83 L.Ed. 1206 (U.S.Ark. 1939), key statement of SCOTUS "certainly it is not within Judicial Notice that this weapon is any part of the ordinary military equipment or that its use could contribute to the common defense."
    Suggests implication that if AR15 is not military then it is not suitable for common defense and thus not protected under 2A.
    Ridiculous? Yes, but not impossible for left leaning circuit Court. Thank God for current SCOTUS make up.

    1. First I've heard of that one. It's the complete opposite of the narrative we're hearing.

      Balance it with the fact that through the years the military has used pretty much everything. ISTRC that the 12ga. Winchester trench gun was considered too brutal and inhumane in WWI. Too inhumane in a war where they're using mustard gas?

    2. Yes, the Germans complained because it fired a "non jacketed round".....

  5. OT, but sometimes public employees do good:

    And here's what this country's corrupt "Legal" system and its "Law Enforcement" - such as Mr. Strzok - use to ban weapons that are not militarily "useful":

    The stench is overwhelming.

    1. I saw that story AC posted early in the day yesterday, and if I wasn't so wiped-out tired by afternoon, I would have remembered to post it. It's a great story.

    2. I'm glad you liked my post. As for the court decision I'm looking forward to a blooming of 3d printer and cnc creativity. Something like "ghost gunner" level simplicity leveraged into a cheap multi use cnc or additive printers. Also I'm uninformed so this may be obvious but if you're doing cnc like ghost gunner why not go all the way and start with a 0% block of billette aluminum or steel?

    3. Ghost Gunner seems like a pretty limited tool, and that it couldn't do all the other operations needed to turn a billet into an AR lower. You need to do things like bore and tap the threads for the buffer tube and I don't see how that could happen. Or a lot of other things.

      An 80% lower can be done with a decent drill press or hand drill, turning a "chunk o' metal" (or a"0%" lower forging) into a full lower requires more operations and several setups.

  6. If some guns are not weapons of war, then they're not protected by 2A and are merely consumer products which are unnecessarily hazardous. As such they can be banned just like cars built light enough to get 50 MPG.

    Supreme court "Miller" result declared short-barreled shotguns were not protected by 2A because they were not used by military. I believe Unintended Consequences has more of the story.

    SCOTUS writes "Simon says ban all the guns", and everybody obeys. That was easy. Affordable healthcare, education, houses, cars, are now gone. The former middle class cannot afford to save for retirement or education or a medical crisis. It's a modern Trail of Tears, and the deaths occur in hospitals due to medical errors from understaffing. Gee, it's nobody's fault. [The disarming of citizens] has a double effect, it palsies the hand and brutalizes the mind: a habitual disuse of physical forces totally destroys the moral [force]; and men lose at once the power of protecting themselves, and of discerning the cause of their oppression. -- Joel Barlow, "Advice to the Privileged Orders", 1792-93

  7. In 100 years, the common man's travel speed went from horseback to the transatlantic jet airplane.

    In 100 years, the common man's communications went from the telegraph to a pocket cell phone that can dial billions of people.

    In 100 years, the common man's computational assistants went from log tables to free Wolfram Language (formerly Mathematica) in the cloud.

    In 100 years, the common man's personal defense weapon went from a handgun, to a handgun that doesn't go off if you drop it.

    Gun control is the most successful American government policy, ever.

  8. "Not inherently military means it can be banned". Right, just like bolt action hunting rifles aren't inherently military? Pump action shotguns aren't inherently military? Revolvers aren't inherently military. Muzzle-loading black powder firearms are inherently military? So that means just about everything other than full-auto weapons are bannable? Maybe in the Calvinball minds of Democrats and RINOs, but otherwise that's nonsensical.