3-D Printed Guns & the First Amendment [POLICYbrief]
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3-D Printed Guns & the First Amendment [POLICYbrief]


Technology moves forward. Things like 3D printers are great. [3D printer sound] So are you ready for: 3-d printed guns? Anyone can print it, no background checks, mental illness not a factor, virtually undetectable. The media are alarmed! This changes the safety of Americans forever You shouldn’t be able to make a gun in your own basement. Massachusetts legislator David Linsky is one of many officials who want 3D printed guns banned. No one should be allowed to make these guns ever on their own? That is absolutely correct. Look, we have enough guns in this country already. [gunshot] But there’s a bigger issue at stake, says Defense Distributed, the company that owns the blueprints for 3D printed guns. I think it’s incredibly important for companies like ours to stand up for the rights that are being obviously infringed upon. Not just gun rights, they say, but free speech. The law can treat firearms like firearms. They can’t treat the speech used to make them like firearms. We’re fighting for the constitutional right to share these files with the world. Why do you want to? There’s enough weapons out there. We believe in free speech. You can’t ban lawful U.S. citizens from sharing information with other lawful U.S. citizens. You can’t ban the sharing of the information. This isn’t about guns. This is about free speech on the internet. The federal government has a responsibility to keep people from spreading this around the country. Keep people spreading sounds like censorship. It’s not censorship when the national security and public safety are at stake. You can argue that is justified, but it is censorship. [Anchor] “The side of the federal building has been blown up…holy cow.” After the Oklahoma City bombing, the U.S. Congress asked the Department of Justice “Can we make a law that bans putting bomb making instructions on the internet?” and the DOJ said “No, you can’t do that. You can’t ban putting files on the internet.” [bomb sound] Nuclear bomb’s a little bit different ’cause
it’s classified information. What’s not classified is all over the web. Plenty of websites and books teach people how to make deadly things. Should The Anarchist Cookbook be banned? No, there’s no reason to ban books. There are some deadly recipes in there. The genie is out of the bottle a long, long time ago on The Anarchist Cookbook. But this is a very different thing whereby all you have to do is download a file, press a button, and a printer gives you a gun. I don’t think that’s an accurate description of the technology. There’s not just point, click, shoot. Bad people can go to Instagram and get an insta-gun People think that with a 3D printed gun you press one button, click, and a gun pops out. It’s actually a very complicated process. It might take a full day of printing. You have to treat the plastic with chemicals so that they’re strong enough, then odds are the gun’s pretty crappy. America does have a long tradition of people making their own guns. If we had a ban on home manufacture of weapons during the time of the American Revolution, we would probably still be under the king’s rule. Well, it was a very different society. Now we have AR-15s and semi-automatic weapons Rights were enshrined in the constitution for permanence. They’re not put there for transitory fleeting references. They’re there for the long haul. But the Constitution also says “provide for the common defense.” Politicians call printable guns a “windfall for terrorists.” A direct threat to our national security Terrorists have access to far more dangerous weapons than 3D printed guns. The notion that ISIS is having a factory of 3D printers, and making these stupid little plastic guns that can fire one shot at a time, it really strains credulity. But couldn’t 3D printed plastic guns
sneak through airport security? Bullets are made out of metal. They’ll just use plastic bullets. You can buy plastic bullets, or rubber bullets, today in a store. They’re not very effective. 6 years ago, when Blackman’s Client first posted the blueprints, the state department forced them to pull the files. We took our files down, but thousands of other place in the internet hosting them. It’s true. [gunshots] The legislator hadn’t realized that. Is that an active website right now? Download now, anybody can do it. I understand that some people might think that the genie is out of the bottle, but let’s put as much of that genie back into the bottle as we possibly can. You can’t put the genie back in the bottle. One of the reasons why these efforts to regulate the internet are kinda silly is you can’t shut down information. If anything, banning the information creates interest. Right, when you ban some people say “Oh, I want to get that,” and it makes people want to download even more. For now, the information is out there and politicians and TV anchors will try to scare you to death. Tomorrow morning, the sun will be shining, the birds will be singing, and anyone will be able to legally download instructions to 3-d print their own fully functional plastic gun. That happened. The world’s the same. The birds are still singing, the sun’s still rising, and people are just fear mongering. There will be a new wave of gun violence. We believe in free speech. This is an important principle and the state can’t take us down.

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