Washington Round 2 Update


Though it hasn’t been covered much in the media, Judge Jones in Seattle issued an injunction on Friday evening, March 6th, forbidding the State Department from releasing its controls on technical data related to small arms. This order preserves the status quo we have come to know since 2013, which permits no legal way of publishing or promoting the open source development of small arms on the Internet.

The order is another in a string of obvious violations of the freedom of speech and the right to keep and bear arms. Like judge Lasnik, this judge performed no First Amendment analysis.

Until further notice, or a successful appeal at the Ninth Circuit, Washington AG Bob Ferguson writes the nation’s export control laws.

On our other legal fronts, we concluded our briefing in our Third Circuit appeal v. Grewal at the very end of February. You can find that brief here.

And in our Fifth Circuit appeal v. Grewal, the Court has scheduled oral arguments. These are scheduled for the week of April 27th in New Orleans.

If you would like to support this litigation, please join LEGIO.

DDII and Third Circuit Update


Last week we concluded Defense Distributed II‘s briefing in the Fifth Circuit. As a reminder, this 1983 action is the original response to out of state actors like AG Grewal attempting to stop our activities in Texas from the comfort of their own jurisdictions. Texas law would not seem to consider the threats of out of state AG’s as sufficient “minimum contacts” to sue them from our home state.

So we intend to change that. The final appellate brief in DDII is below:

In DD v. Grewal, back up in the Third Circuit, AG Grewal has filed his merits reply. It repeats what he’s been briefing for the last year ad nauseam, but he at last goes out of his way to stress CAD data is NOT protected by the First Amendment.

This is something we’d like the Third Circuit to address, so Grewal is finally playing into our hands.

If you’d like to support this litigation, please join DD LEGIO.

Washington Round 2


This week DD filed a supplemental brief about appellate jurisdiction in the Third Circuit so that we may finally confront Grewal over his obviously illegal New Jersey speech crime. That brief is below.

Now Delaware has a house bill with largely the same language, making file-sharing of any technical data related to guns a felony if one of their beaten men so much as stumbles upon your website.

No doubt you’ve seen the reports that Washington AG Ferguson has led another charge at the feds for their conclusion of the arms export control reform initiative. They haven’t just yet gotten judge Lasnik assigned to the new case, but they’re trying their best.

We’ll see the states again attempt to get an injunction or two. Somehow they think they have the standing to block the final rules under the APA. Their complaint relies exclusively on misstatements of the final Commerce Department rules and how they were developed. This after spending the last year hijacking the rule-making process in order to write in controls of their own design. Commerce spends 10 pages in their supplementary materials explaining how they rewrote their controls for Congressional and state Democrats. And here’s Senator Menendez praising the State Department for illegally accepting his and the Bradykampf’s edits in 2019.

State Democrats appealing to judicial Democrats to undo the work of federal administrative Democrats, designed by private sector Democrats, working on behalf of Congressional Democrats.

Watch what happens in about 30 days.

If you’d like to support this litigation, please join DD LEGIO.

2020 Briefing

Though the culture of 3D gun design and online distribution has its widest reach yet, DD spent the last year (like many before it) largely sidelined from this activity thanks to State of Washington v. Dep’t of State et al., No. C18-1115-RSL (W.D. Wash). The order there wasn’t against DD, but against the State Department, and it technically made all online gun file sharing illegal. Luckily no one but DD abided by this judicial order. And no state authority attempted to stop any of the other active players.

This week DD filed a notice of appeal in this Washington case, which will take it before the Ninth Circuit. We’ve also found our appeal against the clownish Gurbir Grewal (Defense Distributed et al., v. Grewal, No. 3:19-cv-04753-AET-TJB (D.N.J.) and No. 19-1729 (3rd Cir.)) recently rescued by the Third Circuit.

You may notice in the Washington case that the State Department did not appeal the judge’s summary judgement ruling. This faithless decision is rooted in the expectation that the upcoming change in the export control rules moots the case and their involvement.

2020 will be full of surprises.

Come see Ghost Gunner 3 at this year’s SHOT Show in Las Vegas. We’ll be at booth #2960.

Washington Summary Judgment

In State of Washington v. Dep’t of State et al., No. C18-1115-RSL (W.D. Wash), Judge Lasnik decided he had the power to vacate our license from the State Department. The rest of his order blandly accepts the Plaintiff States’ basic position and either skips past our arguments entirely or addresses them with conclusory denials.  We have come to expect this kind of laziness and basic error from district judges.

The good news is the appeal window to the Ninth Circuit opens soon. The standard of review is de novo, so such a one-sided and obviously wrong order should be easy enough to reverse. The Feds likely don’t want such an order to stand, but I won’t argue for them here.

I won’t share our overall appellate strategy in these blog posts, but no one is going to be interested in Lasnik and the Seattle action in the next stage of this controversy. Our focus will remain on New Jersey, and soon you’ll see why.

DD v. Grewal (3d Cir.) – Appeal Update

In Defense Distributed et
al., v. Grewal, No. 19-1729 (3rd Cir.) we’ve concluded the scheduled briefing on our motion for an injunction pending appeal, as well as for Grewal’s motion to summary affirm.

The orders will likely lack opinions but the takeaways are no less striking. In a year of direct litigation against Section 3(l)(2) of New Jersey Senate Bill 2465, Grewal has not once defended the constitutionality of his speech crime. He misses his filing deadlines and fails to follow basic motions practice by phoning in letters over formal appellate briefs. What legal reasoning we encounter in these is by analogy and lacks a basic consonance, or even familiarity, with Third Circuit precedent.

And we are supposed to believe this state wants a direct police power over the entire Internet?

Fighting all these states in court may sound serious to you, but their lawyering is second rate and doesn’t compare to federal action involving DOJ. Consider this excerpt from our TRO hearing in Pennsylvania last year:

This one is fun:

Our battle is difficult because it’s expensive and time consuming. But otherwise it’s tedium. New Jersey is not sending us their best.

If you’d like to support this litigation, please join DD LEGIO.

Contract X


Recently I accepted Paloma Heindorff’s invitation to return to the directorship of Defense Distributed. Her commitment to our company’s purpose is total. Her execution of our 2019 plans has been flawless, and she will maintain an executive role with Ghost Gunner.

Today I’d like to announce that Paloma and the greater DD/GG team were able to fulfill the first of the public defense contracts we outlined last summer, amid the multi-state opposition to our legal victory against the US Dept. of State. In return for your support in our legal fight, we are able to reveal Contract X as the Ghost Gunner 3, which we have now placed into production.

GG3 is a complete rebuild, drawing from all our lessons in CNC and 80% work. We gave it a closed-loop digital VFD, optical limit switches and made it five times more powerful, but most meaningfully the GG3 cuts steel – including heat-treated AK 80% receivers –  which opens up an entirely new front in digital gunsmithing.

Against every kind of opposition, the Ghost Gunner project has satisfied its revolutionary possibility. It’s a true platform with a broad community and it has exceeded our original designs entirely. Proceeds from the sale of the machine will fund four of our six major lawsuits.

For those still wondering, these lawsuits are:

  • Defense Distributed, et al v.
    U.S. Dept. of State, et al., No. 1:15-cv-00372-RP (W.D. Tex.) and No. 18-50811 (5th Cir.)
  • State of Washington v. Dep’t of
    State et al., No. C18-1115-RSL (W.D. Wash)
  • Defense Distributed et
    al., v. Grewal, No. 3:19-cv-04753-AET-TJB (D.N.J.) and No. 19-1729 (3rd Cir.).
  • Defense Distributed et al. v.
    Grewal, No. 1:18-cv-00637-RP (W.D. Tex.).

The states bringing suit against us have no standing and their courts have no jurisdiction. Of course that will take a few years for us to all figure out together, but our enemy knows this and is trying to stand up as many new laws as possible to ward off the inevitable. The New Jersey situation will continue to best showcase this cycle of overreaction and sloppy litigating.

This week, before the Third Circuit, DD filed a motion for an injunction pending appeal in our matter challenging New Jersey’s absurd, year-old speech crime law. This blog will maintain a focus on New Jersey.

It’s been a lesson in lawfare for me these last 12 months. I will apply what I’ve learned for your benefit.



DD v. Grewal (3d Cir.) – Appeal Update

As expected, Judge Thompson in New Jersey issued an order denying our motion for an injunction pending appeal. We knew she’d deny the motion.  The question was how long it’d take, and she acted quickly, which now allows us to cleanly proceed to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.

19-1729 is our appellate case number in the Third Circuit. Like the district court case, it’ll be called Defense Distributed et al. v. Grewal for short. We’ll disclose the briefs as they are filed.

You can support this litigation by joining LEGIO.

DD v Grewal NJ Status

For the benefit of our members, we’d like to present the transcript of the status hearing that led to the present stay order in New Jersey against our many plaintiffs.

For its seven years of life, Defense Distributed has been denied due process of law for five in the federal courts. Always for one capricious reason or another. Observe how casually our forum is taken away, as a matter of process and substance, by the brokers of power.

A marvellous pull quote:

THE COURT: Well, you know, I have a lot of respect for the rules and following procedures, and some people call that due process, but we function very much as seems practical and fair and prompt and efficient. And so, I don’t feel in anyway constrained to require motion practice rules when a party seeks a stay.

Pg. 8 – 11

These little caprices magnify into multi-year litigation at monumental expense. Always to the benefit of the state authority.

You can support this litigation by joining LEGIO.

DD v Grewal Update

March 7th was a banner day for New Jersey’s abuse of power and process against us, Legionnaires. What began as a status conference on our PI schedule became a motion hearing, where Grewal’s lawyers and an obviously disinterested Judge Thompson forced a stay ruling. How could a surprise stay ruling occur in a status conference without the Plaintiffs being afforded the chance to file a substantive response? How could a judge, relying on no authorities, issue a stay against totally new plaintiffs and totally new issues that were not a part of our 1983 action in Texas? Hey, ask New Jersey. They’ve been making it up as they go along since at least May of 2018.

All this error has been preserved, and we are mobilising for direct appellate review, but this typifies the completely improvisational nature of the legal obstacles these petty authorities, state and federal, have thrown up against Defense Distributed since our settlement with the State Department.

No press picked it up, perhaps because it’s so discreditable, but on the same day as our stay, NJ Senator Menendez sent a letter to Twitter asking Jack Dorsey to specifically censor one account sharing updated versions of the DEFCAD AR-15 reference files. Is there another word to use when a politician asks a private company to edit the public communications of a private individual?

Note how this public servant further asks Twitter to limit the ability of people to share links to firearms CAD data both publicly *and* in private messages, a mirror of the steps Facebook took this summer. Yes, Facebook implemented a policy literally preventing users from communicating about 3D data related to guns in real time. In what other domain of knowledge do we accept politicians asking for such explicit censorship and control?

Defense Distributed’s legal activism has always been about making the terms of the debate explicit, and demonstrating authority’s willingness to attack the Internet to get at the very *idea* of the firearm. New Jersey takes the bait without irony.

They literally believe they have designed an enforceable, state-level regime for control of all the Internet’s traffic in firearms design data. Their national congressional delegation believes it can suspend or reset the Export Control Reform process and force the State Department to control whatever data their state authority somehow misses. And the state has enough rubber stamp district and federal courts that they know it will take years to officially correct them.

But all this lawmaking and letter writing didn’t prevent the technical improvement and re-release of the DEFCAD AR-15 reference files, did it? This furious rush to the courts and the state legislatures around the country only served to demonstrate to a small community of people that such CAD data was politically important and necessarily a public good. All this sound and fury produced a better set of reference models for the AR-15 than has ever existed before in online circulation. And that’s how this is always going to go, Legionnaires.

Our legal efforts may seem frustrated and never-ending, but imagine being these people in New Jersey, clumsily fighting against creative people who want to *give something away for free* through the perfectly liquid channels of the Internet. A lost cause.

You can support this litigation by joining LEGIO.

Since Jan. 1 2021, no warrants have been served to principals or employees. No searches or seizures have been performed on assets.