Most gun-rights cases cite the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which protects the rights of Americans to keep and bear arms.
This one, however, revolves around the First Amendment, the freedom to speak and communicate about guns.
The Second Amendment Foundation and other parties are suing New Jersey Attorney General Gurbig Grewal over the state’s attempts to limit their speech. They are asking for a preliminary order to prevent the irreparable loss of their speech rights.
SAF said its lawyers are targeting a new law in the state “that prohibits any kind of publication or distribution of information relating to 3D printing of firearms components.”
The case has brought together the SAF, Defense Distributed, the Firearms Policy Coalition Inc., Firearms Policy Foundation, the Calguns Foundation, California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees Inc. and an individual citizen, Brandon Combs.
“This case involves passage in New Jersey last November of legislation that criminalizes constitutionally protected speech,” the plaintiffs explained Friday.
“Attorney General Grewal has promised to jail anyone who violates this new statute by publishing or otherwise making available ‘digital instructions’ that ‘may be used’ to ‘produce a firearm ‘with a ‘three-dimensional printer.'”
“Essentially,” said SAF founder Alan M. Gottlieb, “we’re being censored and our First Amendment rights are being violated. If this law isn’t challenged, it will have a chilling effect on any kind of firearms-related speech by anyone in New Jersey or who communicates to anyone living in the state.”
He continued: “This case isn’t about guns. It’s about speech and the First Amendment, not the Second. When this law was passed, it appears that New Jersey lawmakers in their zeal forgot that speech is a protected right as well.”
Last year when the case was filed, WND reported New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 2465, which is specifically aimed at censoring SAF and Defense Distributed, SAF contends.
The court fight is part of a broader civil-rights action against several governors, attorneys general and other government officials brought by SAF and Defense Distributed.
“We’ve had to take this extraordinary step to defend our First Amendment rights because Attorney General Grewal has literally threatened to ‘come after’ us, or anyone else, who is ‘contemplating making a printable gun,'” explained Gottlieb.
“Grewal and the governor aren’t merely trying to stop what people do, now they’re also trying to dictate what people think. That amounts to extremism on steroids.”
The company, Defense Distributed, already had reached a settlement with the federal government allowing it to publish its information. But then various state attorneys general stepped in to censor the details.