The Second Amendment today joined several other organizations in a lawsuit against New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, seeking a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against enforcement of provisions in a 2018 law that criminalizes constitutionally-protected speech.
SAF is joined by Defense Distributed, the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, Calguns Foundation, California Association Federal Firearms Licensees and a private citizen, Brandon Combs. They are represented by attorneys Chad Flores, Daniel Hammond and Hannah Roblyer of Beck Redden LLP in Houston and Daniel L. Schmutter of Hartman & Winnicki, P.C. in Ridgewood, N.J.
The lawsuit contends that after New Jersey lawmakers passed the new statute last November, Attorney General Grewal censored the plaintiffs’ free speech rights by threatening to jail them or anyone else that violates a section of the law that criminalizes distribution of digital instructions that may be used to produce a firearm with a three-dimensional printer.
“This isn’t about firearms, it’s about freedom of speech,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “If Attorney General Grewal can suppress the sharing of technical information about the production of firearms components using modern technology, what else might he, or another attorney general choose to suppress at some future date if he or she doesn’t like it?
“Section 3(I)(2) of the law doesn’t criminalize conduct,” he observed, “it criminalizes speech, the mere act of sharing information. We are hopeful the court will recognize the Orwellian nature of this prohibition and conclude, as we have, that it is an unconstitutional abridgement of protected speech.”
The lawsuit notes that all types of digital firearms information are censored, including computer aided design files and other code or instructions stored and displayed in electronic format as a digital model. Under the law, it does not matter whether anyone actually uses the information, only that it is available and “may be used.”
“With so much media attention on 3-D technology in recent months, the public has a right to know what the controversy is all about,” Gottlieb said. “But Grewal won’t allow that so we’re taking him to court.”
The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.