Posts Tagged First Amendment

Defense Distributed Snubbed By NSSF

From Guns.com:

During the Second Amendment Foundation’s annual gun rights policy conference in Tamp, Florida last weekend, Wilson revealed he was denied membership to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the firearms industry’s largest trade group, for reasons he is unsure of.

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Blueprints Of Guns Not Allowed, Court Says

From Ars Technica:

In a 2-1 decision, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals was not persuaded that Defense Distributed’s right to free speech under the First Amendment outweighs national security concerns.

Ordinarily, of course, the protection of constitutional rights would be the highest public interest at issue in a case. That is not necessarily true here, however, because the State Department has asserted a very strong public interest in national defense and national security. Indeed, the State Department’s stated interest in preventing foreign nationals—including all manner of enemies of this country—from obtaining technical data on how to produce weapons and weapon parts is not merely tangentially related to national defense and national security; it lies squarely within that interest.

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The Apple Case Could Violate The Thirteenth Amendment

If Apple is compelled to create a program that doesn’t exist for the government, that would be a type of slavery.

From Reason.com:

Instead, the DOJ has obtained the most unique search warrant I have ever seen in 40 years of examining them. Here, the DOJ has persuaded a judge to issue a search warrant for A THING THAT DOES NOT EXIST, by forcing Apple to create a key that the FBI is incapable of creating.

There is no authority for the government to compel a nonparty to its case to do its work, against the nonparty’s will, and against profound constitutional values. Essentially, the DOJ wants Apple to hack into its own computer product, thereby telling anyone who can access the key how to do the same.

If the courts conscripted Apple to work for the government and thereby destroy or diminish its own product, the decision would constitute a form of slavery, which is prohibited by our values and by the Thirteenth Amendment.

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Lawmaker Trolls Anti-Gun Hypocrites With Reporter Registration Bill

From US News:

A South Carolina lawmaker invited nationwide condemnation Tuesday with legislation proposing a mandatory journalist registry and potential jail time for violators. But state Rep. Mike Pitts now says he intentionally duped reporters and press advocates to expose what he sees as their hypocrisy.

“I filed this legislation as an experiment to make a point about the media and how they only care about the constitution when it comes their portion of the 1st Amendment,” the Republican legislator wrote on his Facebook page Wednesday morning.

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EFF Files Brief In Support Of Defense Distributed’s 3-D Files

From EFF:

The underlying legal ideas stretch back to one of EFF’s earliest major legal victories. Twenty years ago, in Bernstein v. U.S. Department of Justice, a judge articulated that code is speech inrejecting so-called export restrictions on code that implements cryptographic protocols. Daniel Bernstein, a mathematics Ph.D. student, wanted to publish source code for a program to run an algorithm he developed. He objected to the State Department classification of his code as a “munition” and, with EFF’s help, sued to establish his First Amendment right to publish the code without arbitrary restrictions outlined in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and other laws—restrictions that included registering as an arms dealer and submitting the code for governmental review.

Read EFF’s full amicus brief here.

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Cody Wilson Versus The United States

From Fox News:

The (15) members of Congress, led by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Kent., signed onto an amicus brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, where Texas inventor Cody Wilson is fighting a lower court ruling in favor of the government agency. The State Department in 2013, citing a law allowing it to regulate international arms trafficking, blocked Wilson and his nonprofit group Defense Distributed from posting technical data for 3-D printing of legal handguns.

Wilson has received more “friend of the court” backup from policy think tank Cato Institute and various free speech organizations.

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Ares Armor vs ATF

From Ammoland.com:

The United States District Court for the Southern District of California ruled against Ares Armor in its lawsuit against the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in a decision filed Thursday. United States District Judge Janis L. Sammartino, a George W. Bush appointee, ordered dismissal of plaintiff claims.

Ares claimed First, Second and Fifth Amendment violations by ATF, as well as a violation of the Firearm Owners Protection Act.  ATF argued for dismissal, citing “lack of subject matter jurisdiction …  [and] failure to state a claim,” as well as for summary judgment on the claim by Ares that classifying the part as a firearm was “arbitrary.”

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The Symbiotic Relationship of The First and Second Amendment

From The Washington Post:

One reason the First and Second Amendments are good constitutional neighbors is that they both protect religious liberty. James Madison intended for the Second Amendment to prohibit the types of arms restrictions which the British government had sometimes imposed on Catholics.

The English Declaration of Rights, enacted by Parliament in 1689, had stated: “The subjects which are protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions as and allowed by law.”

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Photo ID Requirement For Gun Challenged By Amish Man

From Penn Live:

Andrew Hertzler claims in a suit filed Friday in U.S. Middle District Court that the requirement is a violation of his constitutional right to possess a firearm and of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

Hertzler states he is an active member of the Amish faith and community in Lancaster County with a sincerely held religious belief that prohibits photographs being taken of him.

 

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WaPo: Printed Guns Will Lead To Printed Nukes

From The Washington Post:

The ability to “print” or manufacture guns privately will allow individuals to bypass background checks, the primary way that guns are regulated today. And that challenge will expand exponentially as the technology advances, one day enabling individuals to print chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction at home.

The threat of privately printed weapons will soon grow beyond the lethal handguns now in circulation. As we argue in research forthcoming in the October issue of the Journal of Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism, considering expected advances in the technologies, terrorist groups will threaten nations with 3-D printed chemical, biological and nuclear weapons within a couple of decades.

 

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NRA Stands Up For First Amendment

From NRA-ILA:

As we reported in June, the Obama Administration’s State Department (DOS) proposed a revision of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) on June 3 that would require anyone seeking to make certain types of information about firearms publicly available to first obtain government approval. Prior restraints of the sort contemplated by the proposal are among the most disfavored regulations of speech under First Amendment case law. Our original alert encouraged gunsmiths, manufacturers, reloaders, serious hobbyists, and others who rely on design, development, production or manufacturing information about firearms to file comments with the State Department opposing the rule and explaining its problems.

 

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Defense Distributed Injunction Against State Department Denied

From Reason.com:

This week U.S. District Judge Robert Pitman denied a motion for a preliminary injunction against the State Department in the case of Defense Distributed v. U.S. Dep’t of State.

Quotes and comment from Judge Pitman’s decision.

He starts with explaining that it takes a lot to get a preliminary injunction to stop someone from an action you assert violates your rights, and he believes the very fact it took DD so long after the injury to file suit proves that they do not face any urgent necessity to stop the State Department from violating their rights.

Judge Pitman does then grant that, well, precedent states that First and Second Amendment violations do rise to the level of “irreparable”  that might demand an injunction.

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State Department Gun Regs Designed To Counter Defense Distributed Lawsuit

According to Sean Davis at The Federalist the new regulations are nothing more than retaliation against Defense Distributed:

On June 3, just four weeks after Defense Distributed filed its complaint in federal court, the State Department suddenly decided to propose a new rule giving it the authority to pre-approve speech related to publicly available firearm plans. The State Department’s play here is obvious: it hopes to promulgate a new rule making its previous anti-speech efforts superficially legal in order to short-circuit Defense Distributed’s court case. If that were to happen, the non-profit would then have to file a new and separate suit alleging the unconstitutionality of the new rule.

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Feds Want To Restrict Talking About Guns On The Net

The State Department has proposed new ITAR rules that would cover merely talking about guns according to the NRA.

From The Washington Examiner:

…the NRA boiled it down for gun owners with this warning:

“In their current form, the ITAR do not (as a rule) regulate technical data that are in what the regulations call the ‘public domain.’ Essentially, this means data ‘which is published and which is generally accessible or available to the public’ through a variety of specified means. These include ‘at libraries open to the public or from which the public can obtain documents.’ Many have read this provision to include material that is posted on publicly available websites, since most public libraries these days make Internet access available to their patrons.

“The ITAR, however, were originally promulgated in the days before the Internet. Some State Department officials now insist that anything published online in a generally-accessible location has essentially been ‘exported,’ as it would be accessible to foreign nationals both in the U.S. and overseas.

“With the new proposal published on June 3, the State Department claims to be ‘clarifying’ the rules concerning ‘technical data’ posted online or otherwise ‘released’ into the ‘public domain.’ To the contrary, however, the proposal would institute a massive new prior restraint on free speech. This is because all such releases would require the ‘authorization’ of the government before they occurred. The cumbersome and time-consuming process of obtaining such authorizations, moreover, would make online communication about certain technical aspects of firearms and ammunition essentially impossible.”

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Making Your Own Firearm Has A Long History

From Slate.com:

While the technological ingenuity and legal maneuvering of makers such as Wilson and Imura may strike us as quintessentially modern, in fact the work of these garage gunsmiths hearkens back to the first experiments with gun-making in the late Middle Ages, an era before firearms became the province of corporations—and centuries before their subjection to any kind of government regulation or oversight.

The story begins with that most dastardly of medieval inventions, gunpowder, first developed in China probably during the Tang Dynasty before gradually making its way to Western Europe by the middle of the 13th century. Initially the use of gunpowder weapons on the medieval battlefield was limited to larger artillery pieces such as the pot-de-fer and theribauldequin. Soon, though, gunsmiths began experimenting with smaller, increasingly portable weapons that could be carried more easily across a battlefield.

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