Apparently the Federal Government is still operating under some marked delusions as to how the internet works and what they can or cannot actually control. Granted, this time it is the Department of State Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance, rather than the White House, but you would think they would at least share notes.
Anywise, by now, you have all heard that the above office demanded that Defense Distributed remove the plans for their "Liberator" pistol from DefCAD, along with another nine designs for creating other firearms, suppressors, and parts. Surprisingly, despite claiming previously he would not, Cody Wilson went ahead and yanked the files in question… but you and I both know that is not the end of it.
The files have already made it to Pirate Bay, where thousands of "seeders" are ensuring it propagates to the infinite corners of the internet, and while I was doing my part to propagate the spread of the Liberator itself, in light of this, I have decided to pull that file for now; still, if a single person downloaded it, my purpose for hosting it was fulfilled.
And that is the problem the State Department, and the White House, face – once you put something on the internet, it is functionally impossible to remove it. Teenagers discover this all the time, but apparently they have neglected to pass on the lesson to their parents who work for / are the feddies.
Unfortunately, our problem goes a bit deeper than the files being yanked from DefCAD, as Joe Huffman endeavors to explain. I cannot say as though I understand the full details (and given that professional lawyers do not either, I am not ashamed by that admission), but the short-and-sweet is that the International Traffic in Arms Regulations were written way before the internet became what we know today, and now it appears that an overly zealous State Department official could potentially prosecute someone for an ITAR violation if that someone puts up a video of how to employ a hasty sling and that video is viewed by a foreigner.
Let that sink in for a second. Go read Joe’s post if you do not believe me. The concept of requiring all FFLs, firearm trainers, and everyone else even vaguely related to the firearm industry (up to and including we mere webloggers?) pay $2000+ a year for the "privilege" of engaging in that business, even though there may not be any export transpiring at all, should be enough to send chills down your spine.
"Gun control" failed as legislation, but damned if it does not look like they are going to try to shoehorn it in through regulation. I wish I could say I was surprised.
I wish I could also say I will be surprised when the First Amendment loses its case in the name of "national security"….
(Also, it is worth noting that the Office of Defense Trade Controls Compliance did not at all care about Fast and Furious exporting actual firearms to Mexico. Interesting.)