In order to save the Republic, President-Elect Joe Biden wants to stop people from having general access to computer files related to the 3D printing of firearms. According to Biden’s website, he “will stop the proliferation of these so-called ‘ghost-guns’ by passing legislation requiring that purchasers of gun kits or 3D printing code pass a federal background check.” Biden also plans to reverse President Trump’s move to prevent the U.S. State Department from blocking gun file code from being available on the internet.
FPC opposes restraints on Free Speech, and Code is Free Speech. Like words on a page, code is an encapsulation of ideas, and the restriction of the possession and sharing of code is a violation of the First Amendment. The files that Biden wants to restrict may be held, exchanged, or published for a multitude of reasons such as political protest, to encourage technological development, or yes, for the purpose of homebuilding firearms, an activity which has never been federally illegal. By requiring background checks or licensing before acquisition of these files, Biden would be instituting a prior restraint on the exercise of a Constitutional right.
Not only does Joe Biden want to restrict the exercise of Free Speech, but he also wants to ban the home-building of firearms, an activity that traces back to the founding of the nation. He wants to do this two ways: first, by restricting access to the files required for fused deposition modeling (aka 3D printing), and by preventing the purchase of firearms components online. American history is rich with stories of individuals building their own firearms, from colonists and woodsmen building the Kentucky Rifle, to a young John Moses Browning toiling in his father’s shop.