Guns rights activists have filed a lawsuit in New Jersey against Attorney General Gurbir Grewal over his efforts to clamp down on the online proliferation of 3-D printed plastic guns, arguing his actions are violations of the freedom of speech and right to bear arms.
Texas-based Defense Distributed was among the plaintiffs who filed suit against Grewal in the United States District Court on Feb. 5 over the attorney general’s efforts to block the company from releasing its schematics which could allow New Jersey residents to manufacture fully functional, untraceable guns out of their own homes, including AR-15-style assault rifles.
Grewal cited reasoning that anyone with access to a 3-D printer could produce those guns, effectively bypassing state and federal regulations, for wanting the schematics banned and unpublished.
“These dangerous files would allow anyone – including terrorists, domestic abusers, felons, fugitives and juveniles – to print untraceable assault weapons using a 3-D printer from the comfort of their own homes,” Grewal said in July 2018. “And because the guns would be printed without serial numbers, they would be untraceable by law enforcement, making it all the more difficult to solve crimes committed with these weapons.”
Defense Distributed said it wants relief from the court ruling last summer which prevented the company from publishing those files.
“The digital firearms information that Defense Distributed publishes constitutes an important expression of technical, scientific, artistic and political matter,” reads the Tuesday lawsuit. “It lies at the heart of both the First Amendment and Second Amendment. It belongs in the public domain.”
Gov. Phil Murphy signed a law in November 2018 banning these so-called “ghost guns,” which he called a “dangerous loophole.”
Tuesday’s suit takes issue with Grewal’s enforcement of the law but only lists him as the defendant.
A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office declined to comment on the suit, but pointed to the office’s July 2018 statement. The attorneys for any of the plaintiffs could not immediately be reached for comment.