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ITAR update may threaten gun websites

Paul Bedard:

Commonly used and unregulated internet discussions and videos about guns and ammo could be closed down under rules proposed by the State Department, amounting to a “gag order on firearm-related speech,” the National Rifle Association is warning.

In updating regulations governing international arms sales, State is demanding that anyone who puts technical details about arms and ammo on the web first get the OK from the federal government or face a fine of up to $1 million and 20 years in jail.

More from Joe, who notes that his post on ammo may violate such a regulation.

8 Responses to “ITAR update may threaten gun websites”

  1. Ankylus Says:

    This is prior restraint on otherwise constitutionally protected speech and therefore per se unconstitutional. Not that it would stop this administration.

  2. Backwoods Engineer Says:

    They can’t arrest us all!

    http://www.backwoodsengineer.com/2013/02/hunting-223rem-load-for-deer-and-small.html

  3. homepcmd Says:

    they are doing this to stop 3d printing… and if they hit those other “sites” then it’s extra – like a cherry on top.

    But this is targeted to those who will publish or share 3d printign file . You can bet on it…

  4. Mike Says:

    Bring it, State. Unlike you I’ve actually read the First Amendment. We’ll start with this: The front of the gun is where the bullets come out.

  5. The_Jack Says:

    And as a bonus they can use this same ITAR to go after people with homemade drones!

    Or people that make model airplanes.

    Or anyone that does Defense Reporting. Can’t have people revealing State Secrets… comrade.

  6. Ron W Says:

    Mike,

    Maybe you should start with ” political power comes from the barrel of a gun”. That is attributed to Chinese Communist dictator, Mao Se Dung ( however you spell it) so that would be deemed protected speech.

  7. JKB Says:

    Just an interesting aside, they did not use the ITAR to try to stop the flow of firearms into Mexico. Easy enough to find a gun on the other side of the border that originated in the US but whose export wasn’t licensed then trace it to the exporter, but they never tried.

    You remember those unlicensed exports that were discovered to have been done at the behest and watchful eye of the ATF?

  8. Sigivald Says:

    As far as I can tell, the un-amended ITAR, on its face, also banned gun sites writing about guns in any detail, maybe, possibly (just as much as now, since “normal marketing material” is excepted, and one presumes that gun reviews are exactly that in practice).

    Any change here simply seems to clarify that “the internet counts as publishing”, etc.

    The fact that nobody’s ever considered such a prosecution tells us how serious the State is about ITAR applying to “gun-review level facts about commercial firearms” – and/or how much they think the Courts would stand up for that.

    Nobody outside of Congress can say with a straight face that words about commercial, domestic production intended for retail sale is really “defense material”.