5th Circuit smacks down New Jersey in dispute over 3D-printed guns

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

It’s not too far from hyperbole to say that New Jersey, aka República de Nueva Jersey, is under near totalitarian control. All three branches of government in the Garden State have conspired, and continued to conspire against the citizens of the pork roll paradise to RICO proportions,  that we can’t even consider them citizens anymore. They’re subjects. They’re peasants. I’m a proud member of the unwashed masses. The Second Amendment, while in spirit is alive and well in the hearts of patriots, it’s barely hanging on by a thread in all practicality, while existing as a mere shadow of what it should. The First Amendment is not doing too well either. Smash those two topics together and you’ve got NJ’s ban on the possession of 3D printed firearm plans/CAD drawing. That ban was challenged, and the ilk of Governor Phil Murphy, aka the Murph, are not going to be clicking their heels over the 5th Circuit’s opinion just issued.

Through a Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) supported case, Defense Distributed; Second Amendment Foundation, Incorporated v. Andrew J. Bruck, Acting Attorney General of New Jersey, there was some setting of the record straight to a longstanding legal battle between several naughty AGs who are members of the anti-freedom caucus, the NJ AG, and Defense Distributed.

The subject of 3D printed firearm plans and their prohibition came across my bow in January of 2020. While I was aware of all the drama that was ensuing over New Jersey’s decision to just eviscerate the Constitution whenever they wished, I had not really seen this particular topic in action until a friend of mine sent me a video that one of their siblings made. The video depicted an individual who was visiting from another state trying to access a website while using a wireless internet connection in New Jersey. This is what the person had to say in the video:

Okay, so in New York and now what I found out in New Jersey, they are starting to block certain firearms websites. One of the ones that I found is, it’s called Ghost guns.com. They sell jigs, and parts to manufacture your own firearm can be 80% lower receivers, 80% receivers are technically not firearms. But if you try to go to that website, you see here, it won’t load. I’m just connecting to the Wi Fi here. I’m currently in New Jersey. But if I go, I pull up the VPN, let’s say connected Mexico, then I go back, and I reload…That website will pull up…that has parts and jigs to manufacture your own lower receivers, like 3d printers, etc. So New York and New Jersey and I’m sure other states like California probably block someone’s side so definitely an infringement on the first amendment rights as well.

The blocking of these websites is a real thing in New Jersey. Well it seems that the tyranny of subverting information exchange is going to come to an end soon. As announced by the SAF, there has been an opinion rendered from the 5th Circuit that deals with this topic which has been more muddled than an orange in a sweet vermouth Manhattan. 

The Second Amendment Foundation and Defense Distributed today are celebrating a court victory in a long-running battle to allow online publication of information related to the 3D printing of firearms, thanks to a ruling by the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that returns claims against the New Jersey attorney general (NJAG) to its jurisdiction.

A district court order had wrongly severed the case against the NJAG, from a lawsuit filed by the plaintiffs, and transferring it to a federal court in New Jersey. Today’s ruling in the Fifth Circuit directs the district court in Texas to “request retransfer from its counterpart in New Jersey.”

“It’s a huge victory for us,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb, “because New Jersey wanted to be severed from our legal action in their effort to prevent publication of the information by Defense Distributed, thus violating the company’s and SAF’s First Amendment rights to promote the exercise of Second Amendment rights.”

This effort began when anti-gun-rights attorneys general, led by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, filed suit in the Western District of Washington to enjoin the State Department from authorizing the release of Defense Distributed’s files on the internet under a settlement from a previous SAF and Defense Distributed lawsuit. That effort was an offshoot of attempts by then-New Jersey AG Gurbir Grewal and several of his peers to prevent the plaintiffs’ distribution of materials related to the 3D printing of firearms.

It’s difficult to not be partial here, as it brings me joy knowing that the goose stepping, overreaching government officials of New Jersey are going to have to eat this. While we understand that the fight is not completely over, we can’t expect the Garden State to just fold on this matter. This small hors d’oeuvres is exactly what New Jersey needs to choke on prior to having some serious freedoms crammed down their throats in the way of a potential positive opinion in NYSRPA v. Bruen. My recommendation to the Murph, any lap-dog AG he has, the legislature, the judicial, et.al., get ready to condition your palate to eating some humble pie. Freedom seems like it’s a’comin across the Delaware (again).

The SAF speaks specifically about the opinion:

Writing for the majority, Circuit Judge Edith H. Jones stated, “Correctly assessed, the NJAG did not carry its burden to clearly demonstrate that transfer is clearly more appropriate than the Plaintiffs’ choice of forum. The district court erred legally and factually in virtually every aspect of this issue, and its decision, which has unnecessarily lengthened this litigation even more, represents a clear abuse of discretion for which mandamus is an appropriate remedy.”

An earlier ruling by a Fifth Circuit panel held that the NJAG is “subject to the jurisdiction of Texas courts” in this case because Defense Distributed is a Texas-based company. Today, the Fifth Circuit ruling directs the district court to:

  • Vacate its order dated April 19, 2021 that severed Defense Distributed’s claims against the NJAG and transferred them to the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey;
  • Request the District of New Jersey to return the transferred case to the Western District of Texas, Austin Division; and,
  • After return, to reconsolidate Defense Distributed’s case against the NJAG back into the case still pending against the State Department.

“This case has dragged on for years,” Gottlieb noted. “What today’s ruling clearly demonstrates is that attorneys general who violate our First and Second amendment rights will be held to answer by the courts, wherever the violations occur.

“NJAG wanted their case severed and transferred,” he added, “and now that will not happen. It’s unfortunate that justice has been delayed so long. It’s time to move forward. This is a case we fully expect to totally win.”

Thanks for the great work of the Second Amendment Foundation. Whenever I get a report of the SAF poking around in New Jersey, it brings to mind a conversation I had with Gottlieb just over a year ago. Gottlieb and I were talking about a challenge to NJ’s FID and Permit to Purchase requirements, and what he told me then about that case certainly applies here:

New Jersey may have been the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights, but it is the last to recognize it.

Well said Alan. Well said.

As always, we’ll be watching the progress of this case, and we strive to keep you, the readers of Bearing Arms, as up to date as possible on all things Second Amendment.