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article imageDownloadable data on 3D guns temporarily blocked in Pennsylvania

By Karen Graham     Jul 30, 2018 in Internet
Austin - State officials say they've stopped a company that makes 3D downloadable guns from making them Internet-accessible in Pennsylvania and from uploading new files.
Attorney Gen. Josh Shapiro says the Texas-based pro-gun group Defense Distributed agreed to block Pennsylvania users after an emergency hearing Sunday night in federal court in Philadelphia, according to the Washington Post.
“These downloadable firearms were just about to be widely available online,” Shapiro said on Twitter. “It’s an existential threat to our state and we stepped in to stop it. The site is — and will remain — dark throughout (Pennsylvania)".
Shapiro says he, Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Police sued the company before its formal rollout on Wednesday, August 1, according to CBS News. Governor Wolf says untraceable guns in the hands of unknown users "is too daunting to stand by and not take action."
So far this year  there have been 17 668 incidents involving guns across the United States and 4 399...
So far this year, there have been 17,668 incidents involving guns across the United States and 4,399 fatalities, Gun Violence Archive, a not-for-profit group, says on its website
CBS Philadelphia reports Shapiro said, "The harm to Pennsylvanians would have been immediate and irreversible. Defense Distributed was promising to distribute guns in Pennsylvania in reckless disregard of the state laws that apply to gun sales and purchases in our Commonwealth. Once these untraceable guns are on our streets and in our schools, we can never get them back."
"The decision tonight to block Pennsylvania users from downloading these 3D gun files is a victory for public safety and common sense."
"What I'm opposed to is technology unchecked," said David Chipman, a retired Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent. He says 3D-printed guns present a real and present danger because they're both unregulated and untraceable. We are basically handing the keys to the store to terrorists and armed criminals," he said.
Shapiro also added that the company actually began distributing gun files Friday and by Sunday, 1,000 people had downloaded 3D plans for AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles.
Prototype of the Blackstar Arms 3D-printed rifle.
Prototype of the Blackstar Arms 3D-printed rifle.
Mitch Barrie from Reno, NV, USA
The Defense Distributed story
Defense Distributed was founded by gun rights advocate Cody Wilson in 2012. In the company's first year, it produced a durable printed receiver for the AR-15, the first printed standard capacity AR-15 magazine and the first printed magazine for the AK-47.
According to the company's original website information, which has been taken down, the nonprofit is organized and operated for charitable and literary purposes, specifically "to defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms as guaranteed by the United States Constitution and affirmed by the Supreme Court, through facilitating global access to, and the collaborative production of, information and knowledge related to the 3D printing of arms; and to publish and distribute... such information and knowledge in promotion of the public interest."
Today, the website says "Defense Distributed is a non-profit, private defense firm principally engaged in the research, design, development, and manufacture of products and services for the benefit of the American rifleman. Since 2012, DD has been headquartered in Austin, Texas." This description is more mundane and there is no reference to 3D printed weapons or Constitutional rights.
On May 5, 2013, Defense Distributed made these printable STL files public, and within days the United States Department of State demanded they be removed from the Internet, citing a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. One day later, the company, joined by the Second Amendment Foundation, brought suit against the Department of State in the Western District of Texas,
After being denied an injunction against the State Department, the case was sent to the U.S. Supreme Court. On July 10, 2018, it was announced that Defense Distributed and Second Amendment Foundation had accepted a settlement offer from the Department of State, effectively winning the case and restarting their work, according to Wired.
The court battle is won
Cody Wilson staunchly defended his Second Amendment rights argument, but actually focused on the First Amendment to the Constitution that focuses on the right to freedom of speech.
The company argued: "that by forbidding Wilson from posting his 3-D-printable data, the State Department was not only violating his right to bear arms but his right to freely share information." This blurring of the line between a gun and a digital file worked.
Portrait of Cody Wilson in Austin  Texas in 2012
Portrait of Cody Wilson in Austin, Texas in 2012
Cody Wilson
"If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident," Wilson explained to WIRED when he first launched the lawsuit in 2015. "So what if this code is a gun?”
Well, the Supreme Court couldn't deny Wilson's argument and offered him a deal he couldn't refuse. The court agreed to change the export control rules surrounding any firearm below .50 caliber and remove their regulation to the Commerce Department, which won't try to police technical data about the guns posted on the public Internet.
And interestingly, this argument is not just about the right to bear arms, even if they are the new, untraceable ones, but it is about exports. The Washington Post points out there is no reason to restrict the exporting of digital information, in this case, instructions on making a weapon.
We may or may not like this new world being ushered in. But there’s no point in trying to restrict it, because doing so just won’t work, continues the Washington Post. So, here we are.
More about 3d guns, no background check, untraceable, National security, Internet
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