2018-08-09 20:25:03 UTC
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
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
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