88°F
weather icon Clear

Thomas Knapp: First Amendment saved 2nd Amendment

“It’s impossible to effectually outlaw guns,” I wrote in 2015, “without also outlawing writing, speaking and thinking about guns.”

I was referring to a U.S. State Department censorship order requiring Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed to remove 3D printing files for the plastic “Liberator” pistol from the Internet.

With the help of the Second Amendment Foundation, Wilson and his firm sued against the order. With the help of the First Amendment, they won. The U.S. government realized it had a losing case and settled. Effective Aug. 1, America goes back to having a free press vis-à-vis guns.

A free press plus rapidly proliferating DIY production technology equals the final nail in the coffin of “gun control” as a practical notion. Not that it ever really was one, what with more than 250 million guns already in the hands of more than 100 million Americans. But now it’s no longer just a lop-sided contest, it’s a done deal. “Gun control” is over.

Wilson hasn’t been idle while awaiting his big win. He’s gone from plans for 3D gun printing in plastic to offering a consumer-priced CNC milling machine — the Ghost Gunner — with software that can turn a block of metal into the frame of an AR-15 rifle or a .45 semi-automatic pistol right in anyone’s home workshop. No serial number. No permit. No background check. That’s that. We’re done here.

As the clock runs forward, it’s now also going to run backward. Because 3D printers and CNC mills will make whatever they’re programmed to make, consider the National Firearms Act of 1934 repealed. If there aren’t already CAD files out there telling home milling machinery how to turn out machine guns and silencers, there soon will be. You don’t have to like it. That’s how it is whether you like it or not.

For decades, “gun control” advocates have, from behind the sturdy shield of the First Amendment, agitated for willful misinterpretation of, or even repeal of, the Second. They still have that shield, as well they should. What they no longer have is any plausible case that they can get their way.

So, are “gun control” advocates ready for a ceasefire? Are they willing to start discussing real ways of achieving their supposed goal — reducing violence in American society — instead of continuing to pursue their lost cause?

I doubt it. Lost causes are both more fun and more profitable than getting serious. But let’s hope.

Thomas L. Knapp (Twitter: @thomaslknapp) is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Tim Burke: Other places worse than Pahrump on LivePD

I must admit it. I miss Nye County on LivePD. I never was a fan of how it made Pahrump look on national TV, but I watched the popular show waiting for the segments of Nye County (primarily Pahrump) with more interest than what was happening in the other departments the show follows.

Jim Hartman: President Trump is a ‘Tariff Man’

The largest economic fear from President Donald Trump’s election was whether his trade obsession and protectionist impulses would overwhelm the benefits of tax reform and deregulation. His proclaiming himself a “Tariff Man” last December should heighten those concerns.

Randi Thompson: Single-payer health care will hurt rural Nevada

Congress is still considering a variety of health care overhauls that will impact the kind of medical care you will receive, and how much it will cost you.

Tim Burke: Reflecting on dads as Father’s Day nears

Being a father is a gift that not everyone gets to experience but for those of us who are lucky enough to be a dad, the role comes with a lot of responsibility in raising children. Moms rule the house and make everything work as a family unit, but dads play an important role in teaching their children how to become good adults.

Dennis Myers: Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak cast a veto against the founders

In his veto of Assembly Bill 186, Gov. Steve Sisolak argues that he is speaking for the founding fathers (they were all men) in their cutting and splicing of the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan at the constitutional convention when they were trying to placate not the small states but the slave states, most of which happened to be the small ones.