State Department orders Defense Distributed to remove online blueprints for 3D-printable gun

By End the Lie

(Image credit: Defense Distributed)

Screenshot of the Liberator page on Defcad.org (Image credit: Defense Distributed)

Just days after the first video of a successfully fired entirely 3D-printable gun was posted online along with the plans to make it, the State Department’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance has sent a letter demanding the removal of the blueprints.

In addition to the removal of the plans for the “Liberator” handgun released Monday, the State Department ordered Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson to remove blueprints for nine other 3D-printable firearms components.

Interestingly, they ordered the removal while they review the files for compliance with International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), the government’s export control laws for weapons, according to Forbes.

In other words, they’re not even sure if it violates the regulations, yet they’re still calling for the plans to be removed.

“Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final [commodity jurisdiction] determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled,” the letter reads, referring to ten CAD files.

The files include the 3D-printable gun, silencers, sights and other firearms-related itmes.

“This means that all data should be removed from public access immediately,” the letter continues. “Defense Distributed should review the remainder of the data made public on its website to determine whether any other data may be similarly controlled and proceed according to ITAR requirements.”

This comes just two days after Sen. Chuck Schumer called the potential ramifications of 3D-printable guns “stomach-churning. The New York Daily News refers to 3D-printable guns as “make-your-own untraceable and undetectable weapons.”

Schumer called for “legislation outlawing the technology’s weapons potential,” according to New York Daily News.

Similarly, it was reported yesterday that California, New York and Washington, D.C. are all looking at banning 3D-printed guns.

Wilson, who is currently a law student at the University of Texas in Austin, says that Defense Distributed will indeed take down the files until the State Department completes its review.

“We have to comply,” Wilson said. “’All such data should be removed from public access,’ the letter says. That might be an impossible standard. But we’ll do our part to remove it from our servers.”

As Andy Greenberg of Forbes points out, while Wilson said he will comply with removing it from his site, it doesn’t mean that the U.S. government has successfully snuffed out the 3D-printable gun.

The files were downloaded around 100,000 times in just two days and the files were actually served by Mega, the new storage service based out of New Zealand by infamous internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom.

Of course, Dotcom is now well known as a critic of the U.S. government and it is unclear if he will remove it from Mega’s servers at this point.

“The blueprint for gun and other Defense Distributed firearm components have also been uploaded several times to the Pirate Bay, the censorship-resistant filesharing site,” Greenberg notes.

There is also the possibility of other mirrors of the files as well. It seems impossible for the government to completely censor every website hosting the files at this point.

In addition, Wilson said that he is also exploring a potential legal exemption from ITAR statutes for non-profit public domain releases of technical files.

This exemption is designed to create a safe harbor for public interest activities like research and would, according to Wilson, require the files to be stored in a library or sold in a bookstore.

Under ITAR statutes, the internet counts as a library, according to Wilson, and he has also made the file available in an Austin, Texas bookstore.

“This is the conversation I want,” Wilson said. “Is this a workable regulatory regime? Can there be defense trade control in the era of the Internet and 3D printing?”

It seems that if there can be, it will be incredibly difficult based on how quickly the files spread across the internet.

Although Defense Distributed tweeted the below earlier this morning, I was able to access their site momentarily before being served another 503 error.

 

It will be interesting to see how this issue pans out. Stay tuned for more information as soon as it becomes available.

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3 Responses to State Department orders Defense Distributed to remove online blueprints for 3D-printable gun

  1. Nora May 9, 2013 at 10:20 PM

    Wilson, who was a guest on Alex Jones (InfoWars) on the Thursday, May 9th 2013 edition, said he anticipated a legal challenge from the get go, over his 3D printables. In an analysis of the statutes cited in the letter which was posted at InfoWars, it appears that the State Department is trying to apply laws that are not on the books yet, specifically UN Small Arms Treaty code, which has not yet been passed into law, and likely won’t due to the overwhelming resistance from liberty minded people across the nation. Until congress has voted it in, the feds can’t impose it. Obama has been trying to push gun control down our throats in any fashion he can, and he has already signed the Small Arms Treaty. That doesn’t mean however, that it will become law. Congress is responsible for passing laws, executive orders were never intended to be used to bypass congressional authority.

    Reply
  2. JAQUEBAUER May 13, 2013 at 4:48 AM

    This is what Yankee Ingenuity is all about. As long as the Tyrants try to destroy our freedoms and confiscate our firearms, the innovators, patriots, homeowners and experimenters will remain several steps ahead. The COMMUNISTS IN OFFICE, such as the one quoted in this article will never succeed in their desire to enslave Americans. This nation was founded and we remain free because of the invention of Firearms. The political elite are protected by men carrying Firearms, the criminal element and terrorist groups are armed, yet the men and women we elected to protect and represent us and who swore to obey and defend the Constitution are doing backflips in their attempts to disarm law abiding and trusted Americans. As long as these traitors to our freedoms and rights continue their unrelenting drive to negate the Bill of Rights and the Second Amendment, creative men and women will work tirelessly to invent new methods and techniques to provide the arms and weapons free men require to remain free. It will not take a stretch of ones imagination to predict the new laws that will be proposed, such as requiring 3D printers and their supplies to licensed by the Federal Government, or laws than make instant Felons of anyone who makes a plastic firearm. But laws only work if the person is caught, and do little or nothing to stop the behavior that lawmakers dislike. Sadly, lawmakers instantly want to criminalize these inventors work, rather than celebrate American ingenuity in developing new defensive firearms for American citizens. Why do lawmakers distrust the American people and at the same time send millions of dollars of military weapons to enemies and sworn killers of Americans? Right now-Obama is arming the same terrorist network that planned and executed 9-11, and that has killed thousands of American soldiers on the battlefield, yet he has sworn to take the lawfully owned arms from Americans, and has declared Veterans and Tea Party members, Constitutionalists and Christians as DOMESTIC TERRORISTS. One can only conclude that the Government has plans to enslave the American people and radical Islam might be involved. Sound Farfetched ? The attack on the Benghazi Diplomatic Compound was because of a anti-Islamic film….Right ?

    Reply
  3. sn May 14, 2013 at 7:02 AM

    If you think this is about a violation of “International Traffic in Arms Regulations” I have a bridge to sell you to. This is about CONTROL
    and don’t you forget it….not ever. Distribute those plans EVERYWHERE…its called the “liberator gun” for a reason.

    Reply

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