Arizona -(Ammoland.com)- On 31 July, 2018, Heather Nauert briefed reporters on issues at the Department of State. She answered questions about the settlement of the First Amendment lawsuit with the Second Amendment Foundation and Defense Distributed. The State Department Press Briefing was posted by the Department of Defense videos. The pertinent exchange is from 5:59 to 10:54. Link to Defense Department video
A reporter asked this loaded question:
..given the amount of public opposition to this and the amount of concern on Capitol Hill that's been raised, is the Secretary planning to do anything to stop these downloads from becoming available, as they would at 12:01?
From Acting Under Secretary of State and Spokesperson, Heather Nauert:
I think we need to put some things in perspective. This is obviously a heated situation; a lot of people have interest in this story. A lot of people have been ignoring this fact for quite some time since this story began: At least since the year 2013, these CAD files, these computer – assisted design files, have been available online, they've been legal for U.S. citizens to actually download these CAD designs for quite some time now. They've been able to get these designs and print out these 3D guns in the United States.
The reason that the State Department got involved, our only equity in this, is because of our role in controlling foreign access to U.S. defense technology. In simpler words, the State Department wants to prevent the wrong people from acquiring weapons overseas. That is the State Department's equity in this.
This has obviously gone through a legal process. The Department of Justice was advising the State Department on this entire legal matter. The Department of Justice suggested that the State Department and the U.S. Government settle this case, and so that is what was done.
We were informed that we would've lost this case in court, or would have likely lost this case in court based on First Amendment grounds.
We took the advice of the Department of Justice, and here we are right now.
Since the year 2012, (the files were initially put online in 2012) the files have been available online and have been legal for U.S. citizens to download and print.
The only reason for the State Department came to be involved is to prevent the transfer of the technology overseas, so that the wrong people from acquiring overseas would not obtain the technology. The State Department does not regulate domestic technology.
The Department of Justice advised the State Department to settle, as they would likely lose the case on First Amendment grounds.
It is legal for American citizens to download these files and to make guns with 3D printers. They have been doing so, legally, for at lest five years.
These facts are not in dispute.
Yet we have a judge in federal court issuing restraining orders to prevent the publication of these files on the grounds that they must do so to prevent the potential for “irreparable harm”. From seattletimes.com:
During the Tuesday hearing in Seattle, Eric Soskin, a lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department, said they reached the settlement to allow Defense Distributed to post the material online because the regulations were designed to restrict weapons that could be used in war, and the online guns were no different from the weapons that could be bought in a store.
Since the weapons “did not create a military advantage,” he told Lasnik, “how could the government justify regulating the data?”
But the judge countered, “There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made.”
Remember, these files have been available, and legal to print, for five years.
©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of constitutional carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and recently retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.