3D Printed Guns Are Protected by the 1st and 2nd Amendment


Disclaimer: This is not legal advice. This is just my opinion. 

Recently, there has been a lot of debate over whether 3D printed guns are constitutionally protected or not.

Predictably, the left is re-actively calling to outright ban 3D printed guns, outlaw the hosting of 3D files online, and potentially prosecute anyone who shares such files or 3D prints their own guns, because it’s “scary.”

It MUST be Upheld as a 2nd Amendment Right

While we understand that if the country too heavily regulates the ability for companies to sell and / or individuals to transfer firearms, then it becomes effectively impossible for anyone to actually “keep and bear” arms in which they have no means of legally obtaining; therefore it would seem logical that the right to manufacture arms must be protected as the final straw for the people to actually have the ability to “keep and bear” those arms.

It is Freedom of Speech

Yes, even hate speech is protected by the 1st Amendment, but speech which insights violence, defamation, or true threats may not be protected by the 1st Amendment.

3D files in and of themselves do not necessarily incite violence. Liberals don’t seem to understand the difference between “inciting” violence and creating the possibility for violence. Yes, having 3D files for a gun while owning a 3D printer could create for the “possibility” of violence (So does owning a kitchen knife), but it does not, in itself, incite it.

If the 3D files produced a gun that had some words engraved on it like “go kill them” or something like that, then yes, it could be seen as unprotected by the 1st Amendment, but normal 3D gun files in and of themselves do nothing to incite violence! Even if the people who were distributing the files were inciting violence, the people would be held accountable, not their files (in my opinion).

Therefore, the right for a website or company to host 3D printable guns should be protected by the 1st Amendment. A 3D file is essentially information, knowledge. Knowledge shouldn’t be outlawed! That’s the type of things tyrannical governments like China and North Korea do.

In 2013 this did not stop the State Department from having Defense Distributed (one of the first companies to host a 3D printed gun file on their website) to have their 3D files removed under the pretense of the The International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) [1]. DD complied, and no charges were pressed.

Now it is 2018, the NRA is a hot topic again and Trump is the president, and 3D printed guns are back in the news!

So What About Bomb Making?

What if we take this to the extreme? Could I seriously argue that information such as how to create bombs and nuclear weapons should also be open sourced?

I will admit that if we stretch it to the most extreme level, some could see how the premise might be flawed or seem a little wacky!

But then again, aren’t the liberals the one who are advocating for terrorist nations to have the right to have a nuclear weapons program? Really… Who are the wack jobs now?

Information in itself is harmless, but I say, if a man who has been posting terrorist threats on Facebook decides to build a bomb or even 3D print his own firearm, I say take that man down before he hurts anyone! As stated before, speech that incites violence isn’t necessarily protected by the 1st Amendment, and those who have announced their intention to do harm to the innocent should be dealt with accordingly and timely.

Does this mean we have to preemptively stop it by preventing all people from having access to this information? Of course not!

Am I advocating for 3D printed Nuclear bombs to be legal? Hell no. While I advocate for the right of lawful information, do not get that confused with “private” information.

Government secrets, such as technology patents and military technology should not be freely accessible by the average citizen or other governments. I think there’s a pretty clear difference between advocating for open sourced nuclear bomb schematics and AR-15 3D files. But I appreciate asking the tough questions!

What Happens if 3D Gun files are Outlawed?

If we ever get to the point where the government outlaws 3D printed guns nationwide? Then we have a big problem because they have just obliterated our 1st and 2nd amendment rights according to the two arguments I presented above.

As far as my interpretation of the constitution goes, the people would be in the right to resist such a tyrannical government (This is not legal advice!).

Decentralized Hosting of 3D Printed Files

This is why cryptocurrency is such an awesome technology, because it’s very hard for governments or nations to control! Sure, governments can outlaw bitcoin, but can they really stop it? No one government can truly control every mining system and computer in the world (yet).

It would be the freest of ideas that a decentralized file storage system existed to protect (lawful) information which is threatened by governments. It is the truest of backup plans the citizens have to protect their God given rights, such as that to keep and bear arms.

This is about the right for citizens to bear arms, not nukes, not any other despicable info or data that you want to extrapolate this argument into, right now, I am just arguing for the right of the average citizen to have access to and lawfully keep and bear and build (for lawful purposes and self defense) 3D printed firearms.

I think based on the arguments presented above, the case is pretty clear that 3D printed gun files should be lawful and protected by the constitution. This isn’t advocating for violence in the same way that mere gun ownership isn’t avocation for violence. The right to build personal firearms is the only safeguard the citizens truly have against a tyrannical government.


  1. CriminalDefenseLawyer.com
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John C