The state of New Jersey thinks it has a say in what the rest of the country does.
No, I’m not talking about its representatives in Congress or its electoral votes during presidential elections. No, I’m talking about an effort by the state of New Jersey to shut down a website that disseminates files that allow users to 3D print firearms. Basically, New Jersey doesn’t let anyone in the state download or share that information.
Now, the owner of the website is filing suit in an effort to fight back.
The man behind a website devoted to sharing online blueprints for 3D-printed gun is suing the attorney general of New Jersey, after being alerted that the activity was violating a new gun control law.
The lawsuit is the latest salvo in the fight to publish the plans online and challenges a law signed late last year that gun-rights advocates say criminalizes their free speech rights to post the blueprints.
“Whatever their claimed motive or agenda is, we know that their actual agenda is the disarmament of the people of New Jersey,” said Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition. “And if they have to infringe speech rights in order to red-line the right to keep and bear arms in their state, I think that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to do that.”
Mr. Combs and a coalition of gun-rights groups recently asked a federal court in New Jersey to block Attorney General Gurbir Grewal from enforcing the law and direct him to stop sending cease-and-desist messages over the online posting of the files.
The lawsuit, filed this month, says the New Jersey law is overly broad. Lawyers argue that it “criminalizes speech regardless of its relationship to illegal conduct.”
Among other provisions, the law bans people from sharing blueprints for 3D-printed guns with anyone in the state who isn’t a licensed firearms manufacturer.
Mr. Combs said he restricted the files on his website this month soon after a network provider he uses alerted him to a cease-and-desist notice.
“The website is up. The files that were hosted on the site are restricted currently, due to the demand that we received,” he said.
The message directed network provider Cloudflare, to delete the files within 24 hours “or we will be forced to press charges in order to preserve the safety of the citizens of New Jersey,” according to the lawsuit.
It was at that point that Combs decided enough was enough and made his move to sue.
I’m glad he did.
It’s bad enough that New Jersey is restricting data like this. Especially since this is both a First and Second Amendment issue. It looks like New Jersey doesn’t care about either right or probably any other part of the Constitution, which is hardly surprising.
This lawsuit may well be an important move forward. As states consider how to restrict homebuilt firearms, some may well try a method similar to New Jersey in addition to current bans being discussed elsewhere. These states think they can stop people from building their firearms, but they can’t. Criminals will still find these files and share them. After all, who in their right mind thinks a crook is going to say to himself, “I’d download this file and build myself a gun to rob a store, but since that’s illegal, I’ll just skip it” or anything similar?
No, criminals are going to continue pushing those files if they so desire.
Not that they need to, though. After all, there are enough already build weapons on the black market in New Jersey that they don’t need to do anything of the sort.
Which just goes to show you how dumb this attempted ban is.