Republican members of Congress have taken aim at the Obama administration with their latest move involving a highly-contentious fight between gun rights advocates and the State Department.
Filing an amicus brief on behalf of Defense Distributed Thursday, congressional Republicans came to the defense of a non-profit firearms manufacturing company currently entangled in a legal battle with the State Department.
In Defense Distributed v. U.S. Department of State, the Obama administration is citing the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) in an effort to curb Defense Distributed’s effort to publicly post online blueprints of 3D printable firearms.
Noting that “it could have dramatic implications for free speech on the Internet,” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) said in defense of the weapons technology company:
“We expect the Court to recognize that the State Department exceeded the authority granted to it by Congress and violated the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution.”
Following an injunction by Defense Distributed and its partner, the Second Amendment Foundation, the summer of 2015 has been one long legal battle.
Defense Distributed rose to prominence in 2013, when its creator, Cody Wilson, invented the world’s first 3D printable handgun.
After Wilson unveiled the new technology and posted its blueprints online at no charge, the State Department issued a letter to him, reading:
“Until the Department provides Defense Distributed with final [commodity jurisdiction] determinations, Defense Distributed should treat the above technical data as ITAR-controlled.”
The State Department letter to Defense Distributed added reiterated that “this means that all data should be removed from public access immediately.”