Earlier this month, the Second Amendment Foundation and Defense Distributed teamed up to sue the U.S Department of State and New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal in federal court on the grounds that they allegedly violated the First Amendment and administrative law.
The defendants named in this case are Grewal, Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Trade Controls Mike Miller and Sarah Heidema, director of Policy, Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy, in their official capacities. The plaintiffs filed this case in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Austin Division. The title of the case is DD/SAF v. Department of State, et. al.
“Jurisdictional shell games are over,” declared SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For too long these officials have avoided real judicial scrutiny. They’ve avoided the merits because they fear a real application of federal free speech protections. But no more. Grewal can’t hide from this court’s jurisdiction and neither can the State Department. DD and SAF look forward to finally having these officials’ years of censorship struck down as violations of the constitutional rights – both First and Second Amendment – that courts are designed to protect.”
The complaint argues that the case deals with crucial free speech matters with regards to the First Amendment right to talk about the Second Amendment. According to the complaint, the case involves “the modern right to speak about the Second Amendment by sharing computer files with digital firearms information.”
“This is about the State Department failure to enforce a contract to protect Defense Distributed and SAF’s right to engage in speech,” Gottlieb observed.
Gottlieb noted that the State Department agreed to a settlement in an earlier case.
“In an earlier case,” Gottlieb stated, “both the State Department and several states involved in the action conceded there is nothing inherently illegal about the computer files at issue. We say so in the complaint. Yet, here we are again, arguing about the publication of digital firearms information, with Grewal in the center of things because of his continued censorship efforts against SAF and Defense Distributed. His conduct could irreparably harm both entities. This has got to stop.”
Defense Distributed has been one of the most revolutionary organizations in the Second Amendment space. They have pushed the boundaries of what constitutes the right to bear arms through their work to 3D print firearms. The fact that governments at all levels view this organization and the work they do as threats demonstrates that they’re doing the right thing.
When conventional means such as politics fail in securing our rights, activists will have to think outside the box. Defense Distributed is one organization that embodies this ethos. Hopefully, they can win this lawsuit so that they can continue to be an innovative force in the firearms space.