Ex-law student who posted 3D printable gun instructions sues government over its effort to stop him
A former University of Texas law student who posted online instructions for building a 3D printable gun claims in lawsuit that the U.S. State Department’s efforts to stop him constituted an unconstitutional prior restraint on speech.
Cody Wilson makes that argument in the federal suit filed Wednesday in Austin, Texas, by his company, Defense Distributed, the New York Times reports. The suit is “an innovative and apparently unprecedented effort to use the First Amendment in support of the Second,” the Times says.
The State Department had ordered Wilson to remove the online instructions while it reviewed whether he violated rules designed to prevent the export of sensitive weapons technology. The department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls said it would review whether Wilson needed a license.
Wilson hired lawyers in an effort to file the necessary paperwork, the suit says, but two years later no decision was forthcoming. Wilson believes he was singled out because his gun instructions were posted after the shootings at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut that killed 26 people.