The Obama administration is proposing new regulations that impinge on not only Americans’ Second Amendment rights, but their First Amendment rights as well.
As reported by Western Journalism last week, the administration plans to move forward with more than a dozen gun-related regulations. Many of them were considered in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting in 2012, but failed to gain congressional approval. The proposed regulations are all part of the administration’s Unified Agenda.
The NRA reports that also included in this agenda is a “large-scale overhaul of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which implement the federal Arms Export Control Act (AECA). The Act regulates the movement of so-called ‘defense articles’ and ‘defense services’ in and out of the United States.”
Advertisement - story continues below
ITAR was originally adopted before the Internet was readily available. Some State Department officials are now claiming that any guns designs, etc. posted online have been “exported” since the web is available worldwide–and therefore fall under the jurisdiction of ITAR.
Items regulated under ITAR encompass “technical data” about defense articles. These include “detailed design, development, production or manufacturing information” about firearms or ammunition. “Technical data may be in any tangible or intangible form, such as written or oral communications, blueprints, drawings, photographs, plans, diagrams, models, formulae, tables, engineering designs and specifications, computeraided design files, manuals or documentation, electronic media or information gleaned through visual inspection,” according to the proposed regulations.
The NRA believes the new regulation would constitute a massive restraint on free speech regarding firearms and their accessories, thus violating the First and Second Amendments. This is because all such releases of information would require the “authorization” of the government before they occurred. “The cumbersome and time-consuming process of obtaining such authorizations, moreover, would make online communication about certain technical aspects of firearms and ammunition essentially impossible.”
“Gunsmiths, manufacturers, reloaders, and do-it-yourselfers could all find themselves muzzled under the rule and unable to distribute or obtain the information they rely on to conduct these activities. Prior restraints of the sort contemplated by this regulation are among the most disfavored regulations of speech under First Amendment case law.”
Advertisement - story continues below
Those found guilty of violating the regulations would face severe penalties including up to 20 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Bob Owens writes on Bearing Arms:
You did a gun review about your new AR-15 and posted it to YouTube? That’s up to 20 years in prison..
You took a small unit tactics class, and wrote about what you learned on your Blogspot blog? That’s a fine of up to one million dollars.
You’re a manufacturer that posts product manuals your web site? Obama will shut you down.
I’m not going to register for permission from the government to write here at Bearing Arms, and so you can expect me to wind up in a federal prison… or worse.
Your favorite gun forums, blogs, web sites, gun video channels, and virtually all other firearm-related online speech would be banned, with your favorite personalities subject to fines and prison, in a direct assault by this corrupt government on both the First and Second Amendments.
Public comment will be accepted on the proposed gag order until August 3, 2015. Comments may be submitted online at regulations.gov or via e-mail ([email protected] with the subject line ‘‘ITAR Amendment—Revisions to Definitions; Data Transmission and Storage.”)