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Wall Street Journal Digs Into 3D Printed Guns

Posted by Ernie Adams on

The saga of Cody Wilson's quest to make 3d printable guns legal under the First Amendment continues, now with an analysis of his case and his book, in the Wall Street Journal.

"Do you have a right to download and use the digital instructions to print out a gun,?" author Ronald Bailey writes in the Journal today. "In September, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled, 2 to 1, that you don’t. The author of 'Come and Take It,' Cody Wilson, runs the nonprofit Defense Distributed, which was the losing plaintiff in that case. Mr. Wilson asserts that the printing instructions are protected by the First Amendment as free speech. In a sense, the court ruling is an answer to the author’s challenge to 'come and take it.'"

ThreeD Materials has covered the story of Wilson's fight to let Americans 3d print workable firearms using their 3d printers, while the State Department has used the Arms Export Control Act to deny Wilson and other interested citizens that ability, claiming that the files posted on the internet can be used by citizens of other countries, therefore violating the AECA.

In the 2-1 decision that went against Wilson earlier this year, the lone dissent did not mince words, with the Judge stating “the denial of a temporary injunction in this case will encourage the State Department to threaten and harass publishers of similar non-classified information.”

As 3d printing becomes more ubiqutous and accessible, new problems around intellectual property, safety and national security will arise.  Wilson's fight, which is detailed in his book 'Come and Take it' is one of the early court battles involving the evolution of these issues that the judiciary and legislative branches will have to consider moving forward.

When Senator Charles Schumer addressed the issue of 3d printable guns a few years ago ,he claimed that “a terrorist, someone who’s mentally ill, a spousal abuser, a felon can essentially open a gun factory in their garage.”

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