After a federal judge in Washington State granted an injunction temporarily halting a Settlement Agreement between Defense Distributed and the United States Department of State from going into effect, Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, announced that his site has “gone dark.”
By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, https://t.co/ZEOYuTOs4a is going dark.
— Cody R. Wilson (@Radomysisky) August 1, 2018
Shortly after that, a new site, CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, mirrored Wilson’s DEFCAD.com site. The site, a project of Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, The Calguns Foundation, California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, and unnamed individuals, was announced with a tweet from FPC.
We published firearm-related machining info, code — constitutionally protected speech — at https://t.co/chdHk1OgLN. Our statement at: https://t.co/GpdN7VNCiS #WeSupportDefenseDistributed #CantStopTheSignal #FreeSpeech #RKBA @calgunsfdn@calffl @gunpolicyfdn #1A #2A #14A pic.twitter.com/PAtyrrI8oF
— Firearms Policy (@gunpolicy) August 1, 2018
The site, according to its homepage, is:
“[A] publicly-available Web site for truthful, non-misleading, non-commercial speech and information that is protected under the United States Constitution. The purpose of this project is to allow people to share knowledge and empower them to exercise their fundamental, individual rights. CodeIsFreeSpeech.com is a project of Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, The Calguns Foundation, California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees, and a number of individuals who are passionate about the Constitution and individual liberties. We wish to thank Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed for their courage, passion, innovation, and inspiration.”
The group’s initial statement reiterates the participants’ position that the CAD files are protected under the First Amendment because they are code, and that computer code has been protected under the First Amendment as speech for decades.
“Our Constitution’s First Amendment secures the right of all people to engage in truthful speech, including by sharing information contained in books, paintings, and files. Indeed, freedom of speech is a bedrock principle of our United States and a cornerstone of our democratic Republic. Through CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, we intend to encourage people to consider new and different aspects of our nation’s marketplace of ideas – even if some government officials disagree with our views or dislike our content – because information is code, code is free speech, and free speech is freedom.”
In addition to being available on the Code Is Free Speech site, CAD files containing the plans for 3D-printed guns have been available through various online sites throughout the pendency of the Defense Distributed vs. US State Department lawsuit and continue to be available.
The continuing availability of the CAD files online creates a gaping hole in the argument that the federal court order is the only thing preventing “irreparable harm” from being visited upon Plaintiffs.
Grab your popcorn and watch how this situation develops, because the groups behind this website are not known for backing down from a fight.