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Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter

Representing the 1st District of New Hampshire

Shea-Porter Calls on Attorney General MacDonald to Join Lawsuit Blocking Proliferation of 3D-Printed Firearm Schematics

July 31, 2018
Press Release

DOVER, NH— Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) called on New Hampshire Attorney General Gordan MacDonald to join his colleagues from Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New  York, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania to prevent the distribution of schematics for 3D-printed guns. Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) agreed to a settlement with Defense Distributors to allow the company to post schematics online for manufacturing firearms using 3D printers. 3D-printed guns can avoid detection and are often untraceable, as they do not need to have the serial numbers required on all other commercial firearms.

“I implore you to join your colleagues from the states of Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia in their attempts to prevent the disastrous settlement agreement reached in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Defense Distributed, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al from taking effect,” wrote Shea-Porter.

In her letter, Shea-Porter outlined the very serious legal questions surrounding the settlement, including whether DOJ followed the correct legal process for adding exclusions to the United States Munitions List, which requires the Department to notify Congress and receive concurrence from the Department of Defense.

“Once Defense Distributed’s website goes online, these firearm blueprints will be available to anyone, anywhere in the world, from now on,” continued Shea-Porter. “Those that would seek to do our nation harm will rejoice in the availability of untraceable and, potentially, undetectable weapons…it is a clear attempt to circumvent existing firearms laws that exist to ensure the safety and freedom of everyone in our nation. If this agreement is allowed to stand, our streets, our places of worship, and our schools will become decidedly less safe.”

 

The full text of the letter is below:

The Honorable Gordan MacDonald
Office of the Attorney General
33 Capitol Street
Concord, NH 03301


Dear Attorney General MacDonald:

I implore you to join your colleagues from the states of Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia in their attempts to prevent the disastrous settlement agreement reached in the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas, Defense Distributed, et al. v. U.S. Department of State, et al from taking effect.

In the agreement, the US Department of Justice has abruptly reversed its longstanding stance that supplying the schematics to 3D-print a firearm violates the Arms Export Control Act (22 U.S.C. 39). The US Department of Justice justifies its new stance by arguing that the “technical information” exclusion to the Arms Export Control Act, found in CFR 125.4(b)(13), exceeds the legal authority of the US Department of Justice. The US Department of Justice does not have the authority to modify the United States Munitions List without first providing Congressional notification, in addition to receiving concurrence from the Department of Defense. It is my understanding that neither of these two requirements were fulfilled prior to the US Department of Justice signing of the settlement agreement.

Additionally, the US Department of Justice’s statement that its illegal modification of the US Munitions List will be “temporary” is patently absurd. Once Defense Distributed’s website goes online, these firearm blueprints will be available to anyone, anywhere in the world, from now on. Those that would seek to do our nation harm will rejoice in the availability of untraceable and, potentially, undetectable weapons. It is naïve and irresponsible to believe that there will be anything “temporary” about this decision.

Beyond the legal considerations, this case also demands a dose of common-sense. Allowing a self-described “crypto-anarchist” to upload plans to create untraceable plastic guns, in violation of the Undetectable Firearms Act (18 U.S.C. 922(p)), does nothing to further the protection of free speech, the right to bear arms, or any other constitutionally protected right. Instead, it is a clear attempt to circumvent existing firearms laws that exist to ensure the safety and freedom of everyone in our nation. If this agreement is allowed to stand, our streets, our places of worship, and our schools will become decidedly less safe.

I truly appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. I look forward to your swift action in defense of the people of New Hampshire.

 

Respectfully,

 

 

Carol Shea-Porter
Member of Congress

 

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