Government Admits AR-15s Not Weapons of War

By Faye Higbee

Cody Wilson is a 3-D Gun Printer that filed a lawsuit against the State Department after they attempted to prevent him from sharing his designs online due to the being a violation of ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations). Breitbart reported that not only did Cody Wilson’s company, Defense Distributed, win the right to publish their designs under the First Amendment, but the government made a startling admission: AR-15s, semi-automatic weapons below .50 caliber are NOT inherently weapons of war.

But but but….isn’t the AR-15 a “military” weapon? No. It is a commonly owned civilian rifle. And within the lawsuit settlement to Mr. Wilson is that straight up admission.

From the settlement definition of military equipment:

“The phrase “Military Equipment” means (1) Drums and other magazines for firearms to 50 caliber (12.7 mm) inclusive with a capacity greater than 50 rounds, regardless of the jurisdiction of the firearm, and specially designed parts and components therefor; (2) Parts and components specifically designed for conversion of a semi-automatic firearm to a fully automatic firearm; (3) Accessories or attachments specifically designed to automatically stabilize aim (other than gun rests) or for automatic targeting, and specifically designed parts and components therefor.”

These statements will now be used by pro-second amendment organizations in courtroom arguments cross the nation to counter the claims of groups who continually harp about ‘weapons of war.’

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby. For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

“Under this settlement the government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology.” Adam Gottlieb, Second Amendment Foundation executive Vice President

Arstechnica reported the background of the lawsuit:

The settlement, which was signed in April but only took effect in late June, says that the DEFCAD files in question are “approved for public release (unlimited distribution) in any form and are exempt from the export licensing requirements of the [International Traffic in Arms Regulations].”

The State Department has also agreed to pay Defense Distributed’s legal fees, which total nearly $40,000.

The federal civil suit began more than five years ago when Cody Wilson and his group, Defense Distributed, published designs for the “Liberator,” the world’s first 3D-printed handgun.

Within months, Defense Distributed received a letter from the United States Department of State’s Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance stating that 10 files, including the designs of the Liberator, were in violation of the ITAR. This is despite the fact that these files had already been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times and continue to circulate online.

The designs for 3D weapons have been out there since this whole thing started, and this settlement is an acknowledgement that some regulations needed to be changed. But anti-gunners are working hard to try and combat people like Cody Wilson any way they can, so we’ll have to see how it goes from here.


Featured photo by David at TheGunZone