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Monday, July 30, 2018

Defense Distributed Wins Against Big Three Gun Ban Groups, More Battles Ahead

VSSA covered the story of Defense Distributed in a recent edition of our member newsletter. For those who may not have seen that, earlier this month, the Justice Department decided to settle a lawsuit with Cody Wilson of Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation related to Defense Distributed hosting and distributing certain computer files that can help devices such as 3D printers, manufacture firearms at home. Wilson believed, among other things, that his First Amendment rights were restricted by being prohibited from spreading the information in those files, which he believed to be protected speech. The government's official announcement that it was lifting its ban on the distribution of the files (the government had the position that distributing the files constituted illegal munitions export) was supposed to happen this past Friday.

Well, as can be expected, the gun ban lobby went apoplectic, and three of them, Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and GiffordsPAC, filed suite in a federal court in Texas.  From Reason.com's coverage of the story:
Panicked, a trio of gun-control interests (Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety, and GiffordsPAC) tried to muscle in on the lawsuit at the very last minute and prevent the settlement from going into effect. Friday, after a hearing before Judge Robert Pitman in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, their attempt failed, the settlement went into effect, the lawsuit is over, and the files are being freely distributed.

...The Brady Campaign and their partners, Wilson thinks, were just hoping to stall resolution of the settlement and "kill us with paperwork and keep us in court" for possibly years longer. "The Judge saw through everything, is the long and short of it" Wilson says. The executive branch, Wilson says, "gets to decide on national security prerogatives" and in a sense Wilson says his side was being forced to defend the arguments of his ostensible legal opponents in the federal government, "which is that the courts can't review" the decision to let the files be distributed.
This likely isn't the end of Wilson's legal battles as Reason reports the New Jersey AG sent a letter to him threatening a lawsuit and CBS reports that last night Defense Distributed agreed to block Pennsylvania users after an emergency hearing Sunday night in federal court in Philadelphia.

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