US 2nd Amendment Under Assault, Freedom Firearms Guns Defense
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Thu Apr 29 02:05:51 PDT 2021
Ninth Circuit Says "Ghost Gun" Blueprints Can Be Posted Online Without
3D-printed gun blueprints can be posted online without U.S. State
Department approval, a divided Ninth Circuit panel ruled on Tuesday.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco reinstated a
Trump administration order that authorized removing ghost guns from
the State Department's Munitions List.
The appeals court ruling will make it easier to share untraceable
3D-printed gun blueprints online, but President Joe Biden in early
April announced new measures to tackle gun violence, including a
crackdown on ghost guns.
"The Ninth Circuit's decision Tuesday overturned an injunction issued
by a federal judge in Seattle in March 2020. U.S. District Judge
Robert Lasnik had blocked two rules that transferred regulatory
control of 3D-printed gun files from the State Department to the
Commerce Department. The rules also removed ghost gun blueprints from
a State Department list of munitions that require a license to export.
Twenty-two states led by Washington state sued to prevent the rule
changes from taking effect," Courthouse News Service said.
Here's more from Courthouse News Service on the divided panel of judges.
In a 25-page opinion, U.S. Circuit Judges Jay Bybee, a George W.
Bush appointee, and Ryan Nelson, a Donald Trump appointee, concluded
that courts lack authority to review the challenged rule changes.
They found a 1976 law, the International Security Assistance and
Arms Export Control Act, and its subsequent amendments forbid judicial
review of State Department decisions on what is considered a "defense
article" subject to regulation.
"Because Congress expressly precluded review of the relevant
agency actions here, we vacate the injunction and remand with
instructions to dismiss," Nelson wrote for the majority.
In a dissenting opinion, U.S. District Judge Robert Whaley, a Bill
Clinton appointee sitting on the panel by designation from the Eastern
District of Washington, argued that his colleagues misinterpreted what
Congress intended when it gave the president power "to designate" what
items are considered "defense articles and defense services" under the
Whaley wrote that a 1981 amendment to the law "clarified that the
president's removal power was separate from its designation power and
was subject to congressional oversight." He said the majority
disregarded a legal principle which presumes any words omitted from a
statute should be deemed intentionally excluded from the law.
"I disagree with the majority's holding which allows this new
regulatory system to escape appropriate oversight," Whaley wrote.
Bybee and Nelson rejected that criticism, arguing that prior to
the 1981 amendment, the phrase at issue clearly encompassed the
president's power to add to and remove items from the list of
Changes to how 3D-printed gun specs are regulated were first
proposed in May 2018 about two months after the Trump administration
agreed to settle a lawsuit with a private company that distributes
blueprints for so-called ghost guns. Under the terms of that deal, the
Trump administration agreed to remove 3D-printed gun specs from the
State Department's list of regulated munitions.
In his dissenting opinion, Whaley questioned why the government
"suddenly and secretly changed course" by agreeing to that settlement
after the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor the State
Department and denied Defense Distributed's request for an injunction
to have its blueprints removed from the list.
Prior to the settlement, the State Department had argued that
Defense Distributed's files could be used to create "virtually
undetectable" firearms that presented a "serious risk of acts of
violence" overseas, including the use of untraceable guns in
assassinations and the manufacturing of gun parts for embargoed
nations and terrorist groups.
"[Department of State] has never explained why, after securing
several victories in the litigation with Defense Distributed, it
decided to settle and agreed to permit the export of 3D gun files,
even though DOS had argued that the export of these files would
irreparably harm the United States' national security interests,"
Whaley also questioned the government's decision to keep that
settlement secret until after a public comment period for the proposed
rule changes ended on July 9, 2018. He noted that only a small
fraction of submitted comments pertained to ghost guns, but after the
settlement was made public, the government was flooded with "over
106,000 emails from concerned members of the public regarding the
deregulation of 3D gun files."
Bybee and Nelson acknowledged some "additional reasons" Whaley
cited as to why Congress intended to let courts review decisions to
deregulate munitions, but they concluded that Congress never wrote
those into the law.
"Congress may decide to codify these policy considerations in the
future. But [the law] as currently written does not reflect them,"
Nelson wrote for the majority.
Guns printed at home are often referred to as ghost guns because they
lack serial numbers, making them untraceable.
In the last several years, a decentralized network of 3D-printed gun
advocates has mobilized online and revolutionized gun designs, sharing
blueprints, advice and building a community.
As we've noted, one online ghost gun community has developed the
FGC-9, which stands for "f**k gun control 9 mm." As we've mentioned,
the FGC-9 can be printed entirely at home for the cost of $350,
including the printer's cost.
YouTuber Sean with "The 3D Print General" recently attended "Bear Arms
N' Bitcoin" on April 10-11 in Texas. He showed how 3D-printed guns
have advanced over the years and can survive thousands of rounds of
So, for the time being, ghost gun blueprints can be shared online, but
it's only a matter of time before the Biden administration swoops in
like a hawk and unleashes executive orders against these untraceable
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