Gun News of the Week: Facebook Blocks Sharing of 3D Printed Guns

Plus: 1.5 Million Suppressors Legally Registered with the ATF

TOP STORY

Facebook Meddles, Again, In Users’ First Amendment Rights

Just in case the nationwide restraining order that prevents Defense Distributed from posting its 3-D printable firearm blueprints on the internet isn’t enough to degrade the First Amendment, Facebook is making sure your right to free speech is preemptively silenced with its latest insult to law-abiding gun owners.

Facebook on Aug. 10 announced it will block the sharing of blueprints for making 3D-printed guns, saying it is against its “community standards.”

“In line with our policies, we are removing this content from Facebook,” the company said in a statement, adding vaguely that it will “update its policy” to incorporate the prohibition.

In 2014, Facebook imposed a policy limiting posts that discuss the sale of firearms to users over 18 and warning users that promoting the private sale of weapons to comply with relevant laws.

The social network said it would "not permit people to post offers to sell regulated items that indicate a willingness to evade or help others evade the law," explaining that private weapon sellers in the U.S. will no longer be able to specify that buyers did not need a background check, and that unlicensed firearms dealers will not be allowed to sell guns across state lines.

BuzzFeed reported on August 9 that Facebook was blocking links to sites that host 3D-printed gun blueprints. Although Defense Distributed is barred from sharing instructions for the DIY weapons, those blueprints are already available in many other places online.

Sharing those links now on Facebook results in an error messages or it bounces back, writes George Eger of Guns.com.

“The content or the page you’re trying to share includes a link that our security systems detected to be unsafe,” reads an error message when a link to one such site is shared on Facebook Messenger, he writes, noting the blocking extends to Facebook-owned Instagram, too.

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SILENT TREND

More Than 1.5 Million Suppressors Legally Registered With ATF

According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ (ATF) July Firearms Commerce Report, 5.5 million “NFA items,” including 1.5 million suppressors, have been legally registered with the agency.

The report documents the status of the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record, which is the federal list of all items, such as suppressors, SBRs, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices and any other weapons required to be registered under the National Firearms Act (NFA).

The number of such registered “NFA items” have increased significantly in the last few years with the record showing a 10 percent spike in suppressors and 16 percent rise in short-barreled rifles registered between April 2017 and February 2018.

During that 10-month span, the overall numbers of NFA regulated items peaked at 5.5 million, up from 5.2 million in 2017 and 4.4 in 2016.

The largest increase in the data presented by the ATF came from an additional 129,768 suppressors added to the NFRTR for a total of 1,489,791 suppressors and in converted short-barreled rifles. In 2016, there ATF listed 213,594 SBRs compared to the February 2018 report.

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STATE ROUNDUP

Obama Appointee Upholds Cook County ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban

U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois Manish S. Shah, a 2014 appointment by President Barack Obama, on August 3 issued a seven-page ruling upholding Cook County’s “assault weapons” ban.

The suit, Wilson v. Cook County, was brought by area gun owners, Troy Edhlund and Matthew Wilson, in challenging the vagueness and constitutionality of the county — essentially, the city of Chicago, — ban on some semi-auto firearms and magazines.

In his ruling, Shah wrote that the 2005 ordinance on assault weapons falls “outside the scope” of the Second Amendment protections on an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Shah wrote that there was “fundamentally no difference” between the contested Cook County regulations and one adopted in 2013 by the Chicago suburb of Highland Park, which was upheld by the U.S. 7th Circuit.

Edhlund and Wilson maintain Cook County’s ban is based ambiguous definitions that could be broadly applied to outlaw almost any semi-auto.

For instance, as cited in the suit, one of the men owned an M1 Garand, which has an eight-round internal magazine, as well as several rifles such as a French MAS 49/56, Egyptian Hakim and Romak 3 which use detachable magazines capable of holding less than the legal limit in the county.

But since the law defines an “assault rifle” as one with “the capacity to accept” a larger magazine, the guns may be illegal depending on the arbitrary discretion of whoever is reviewing the information.

“Our ordinance is the kind of common sense gun legislation we need,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said on August 7. “It is a responsible and meaningful law aimed at protecting our residents and our law enforcement officers.”

Edhlund’s and Wilson’s attorneys have filed an appeal with the 7th Circuit.

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IN THE COURTS

Brady Joins Suit Against Cabela’s for Selling Replica Muzzleloader To Felon

The Brady Campaign will spearhead a lawsuit against Cabela’s for selling a replica muzzleloader to a felon who later used it to kill an Ohio man.

The anti-gun group has agreed to represent the family of Bryan Galliher, 21, in a lawsuit filed on August 4 in the Common Pleas Court of Wayne County on Tuesday.

The family is seeking damages from Cabela’s, which is owned by Bass Pro Shop, alleging that store employees should have known they were violating state law against by selling guns to a felon when they sold a replica 1858 Army .44-caliber black powder revolver to Paul Claren over the phone in 2014, as well as reloading kit in 2016.

Claren, 69, has a lengthy criminal history dating back as 1991 that includes aggravated assault, menacing by stalking, and felonious assault.

Federal law does not classify antiques and black powder replicas as firearms. As with most states, Ohio does not make a distinction between replicas and regulated firearms in denying possession by a felon.

By Ohio law, the suit contends, Cabela’s is “vicariously liable” in wrongful death after Claren used the revolver to fatally shoot Galliher in August 2016.

Claren unsuccessfully claimed justifiable homicide defense in this criminal trail. He was convicted of aggravated murder and sentenced to life in prison.

“We don’t want to see any other family endure such an avoidable tragedy,” said Brady attorney Sean Alto in a statement from the group. “Had better policies and procedures been in place, Bryan’s death could have been prevented.”

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