Cody Wilson, the innovator of 3D printed firearms, is suing the State Department over the agency's demand that Wilson remove his gun design from the internet.
The State Department and Wilson have been in conflict for years.
The Washington Free Beacon reported that in 2013 after Wilson's company created the first 3D printed gun and posted the designs online, the State Department demanded he remove the 3D firearm blueprint from the internet. In the letter, the agency said the company may be in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.
“They actually didn’t even have any process to direct me to on this part of the lawsuit. There wasn’t actually even a cease and desist, it was this kind of veiled threat demanding that I make some submissions to their agency and recognize their agency’s authority to claim commodity jurisdiction over the pieces,” Wilson told The Washington Free Beacon.
“So the ITAR [International Traffic in Arms Regulations] is the regulation they use. … We’re not talking about international treaty or like the UN arms trade treaty or any of these other things that are now coming in with like fast track and all that stuff. We’re talking about a set of regs,” he continued.
Wilson said that the State Department has expanded their power to all intellectual property related to guns, not just the international transfer of firearms.
Wilson and his company may face millions of dollars in fines and "up to 10 years in prison" for every time someone in another country downloaded his firearm blueprint from the Internet.
"So I'd say there's limitless liability, I mean infinite time in jail," Wilson said.
The 3D gun pioneer said he was the only one being targeted by the State Department even though many other people shared 3D gun blueprints online.
“Large forums of gun enthusiasts share information and data all the time, home builders. It’s absurd,” he continued. "In a way I felt kind of lucky because I knew that if I was able to hang in there and resource my organization we might actually be able to bring suit one day.”
The Second Amendment Foundation has joined Wilson in his lawsuit, arguing that the State Department is in violation of the First, Second, and Fifth Amendments.
“The right to keep and bear arms includes the ability to acquire or create arms. The government is engaging in behavior that denies this company’s due process under the Fifth Amendment," SAF Founder Alan Gottlieb said in a statement.
In their opposition motion, the State Department argued that Wilson and the SAF are not suffering from irreparable injury and pose a threat to national security and foreign policy interests.