7/22/2018

At Fox News: Trump Administration agreement means "This Marks the End of Gun Control"

I have a major piece up at Fox News where he explains how a new Trump Administration agreement means "This Marks the End of Gun Control." The piece starts this way:
The federal government has finally recognized the obvious – that sharing instructions on how to make guns with 3D printers counts as constitutionally protected speech.Despite little fanfare, this is an important victory for First Amendment rights. It also represents a real blow to the increasingly futile cause of gun control.
The U.S. Justice Department announced a legal settlementand its surrender to the First Amendment arguments July 10 made in a case brought by Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed. Wilson, 25, created a ruckus in May 2013 when he announced his successful design of a plastic gun. In just two days, 100,000 copies of the handgun blueprint were downloaded from Wilson’s website.
The most downloads came from Spain, followed by the U.S., Brazil and Germany. The heavy downloading in Spain, Brazil and Germany likely reflected attempts to evade extremely restrictive handgun regulations in those countries.
People are going to download these files whether they're legal or not. As we've seen with movies, file sharing is unstoppable. The most pirated TV program in 2017 was the seventh season of “Game of Thrones,” with well over 10 million illegal downloadsin most weeks.
Within days of the gun file being uploaded, the Obama State Department served Wilson with a letter threatening criminal prosecution for violating federal export controls. Wilson immediately complied with the order, but there was no way to stop further downloading.
Within a week of the initial uploading, the file could be downloaded on the Internet from over 4,000different computers around the world.
The Justice Department’s recent settlement with Wilson is very favorable to him, allowing Wilson to provide the printing instructions “for public release (meaning unlimited distribution) in any form.” The government also compensated $40,000of Wilson’s legal costs.
Someone has just as much right to release the instructions in a computer file as in a book or newspaper article. The groups that submitted argumentson Wilson's behalf were ideologically diverse, ranging from conservative self-defense advocacy groups to the Reporters’ Committee for Freedom of the Press and Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Anyone with access to a metal 3D printer can make guns functionally and aesthetically indistinguishable from any gun that can be bought in a store. Such metal printers are available for less than $2,000.
How the government will stop people from obtaining these printers isn’t exactly obvious. Proposals to require background checks, mandatory serial numbers and even a registration processfor printers are easily defeated. Even if printers are registered with the government, what is going to stop gangs from stealing them? And the designs for making your own printer have been available on the Internetfor years.
3D printers make the already extremely difficult job of controlling access to guns practically impossible. The government is not going to be able to ban guns, and limits on the size of bullet magazines will be even more laughable than before. Many parts of a gun can be made on very inexpensive, plastic 3D printers or even from simple machine tools. . . .
The rest of the piece is available here.

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