Free speech in the media world is under clear attack. While the censorship on social media platforms is the most concerning threat to some, such has recently extended to the publishing market with Amazon’s most recent ban.
As of Wednesday, the online marketplace has banned a coding guide for 3D printed guns. The book, which had to goal of expressing that computer coding and instructional manuals are protected under free speech, has since been removed from Amazon’s website for purchase and from Kindle for online downloading and reading, yet the online retailer has refused to comment why the piece in question was considered a violation.
The offending piece, titled The Liberator Code Book: An Exercise in Freedom of Speech, is essentially a coding manual which provides the template for printing the controversial 3D homemade handgun known as the Liberator.
The Liberator and its associated instruction manual have been under scrutiny regarding first and second amendment protections since it was first developed in 2013. Cody Wilson, “a self-described anarchist” developed the technology and released its associated blueprints.
The printable gun is made almost entirely out of plastic parts except for the metallic firing pin which makes it legal in being able to be detected by a metal detector. While some may rejoice in the fact that one can essentially print a gun from home, although the construction thereafter is reportedly not such a simple process, it is in no way a reliable self-defense firearm.
According to firing trials, the Liberator can only successfully fire a few rounds “before it melts or explodes.”
Still, its development raised controversy with the U.S. Department of State which “claimed Wilson violated International Traffic in Arms Regulations because the files could be downloaded by foreign entities and demanded he remove them from his site.”
In 2015, Wilson responded with a lawsuit based on first amendment violation concerns.
On July 15, this year, “Wilson announced the State Department had settled with him and would be dropping their claim against him.”
Yet after Wilson put the gun design online once again to his website, DefCad.com, it was shut down by a “temporary injunction filed by multiple U.S. states,” forcing Wilson to once again fight for his right to release free information.
Since August 1, The Liberator Code Book, published by author CJ Awelow was available through Amazon for purchase or download.
Upon being asked to further elaborate, Evans referred inquiring minds to Kindle publishing guidelines which prohibit content that contains “pornography, offensive content, illegal and infringing content, public domain and other non-exclusive content, and books that result in ‘poor customer experience.’”
Evans concluded, saying, “Don’t have any additional comment beyond what I’ve shared. Link I provide states that books must adhere to our guidelines.”
Yet ironically, the recent banning of the book by Amazon perfectly illustrates exactly what the book was published to address.
The author was seemingly aware of what would become of the piece, as the book provides the following statement:
“The purpose of this exercise is to give a physical analogy between computer code and books. Preventing the publishing of code online is no different than banning a book from circulation and pulling it from the shelves of a library.”
Yet that is exactly what Amazon proceeded to do while allowing countless other controversial works to remain.
While the firearm blueprints are currently still being addressed legally pertaining to their distribution, Amazon continues to sell works such as Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, Mein Kampf; Communist Manifesto; a “white supremacy manifesto that helped inspire [the assailant] to commit the Oklahoma City bombing;” as well as the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, “the world’s most anti-Semitic diatribe.”
Although the fore mentioned pieces do not instruct one on how to “construct improvised weapons,” Amazon does still allow several other guides to remain which do. Among such include several U.S. Military manuals, including one on creating boobytraps, as well as “a collection of previously classified documents detailing how scientists who worked on the first nuclear bomb went about building it.”
However, a guide outlining how to build a mostly plastic gun which self-destructs upon being fired sometimes just once or twice was considered a violation of Amazon policies.
While the DefCad website has since been temporarily disabled, perhaps attributing to Amazon’s concerns, Wilson argued that “Literately everything on DefCad is actually somewhere else already and has been for years.”
However, the liberal concern remains that criminals will be able to print firearms at the “click [of] a button” and that undetectable guns may endanger the public.
Of course, any firearm advocate could debunk these claims based on the complexity and cost involved in printing such a device, the reality that criminals can always resort to other measures of obtaining weapons, the legality of homemade ‘ghost guns,’ and that 3D printed guns still include a detectable metal firing pin, making them legal under the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988.
Wilson expressed this recently, explaining that “the multiyear fight he’s waged in court was not about the right for law-abiding Americans to build their own firearms…but rather the right to share the knowledge of how firearms work and are made.”
While leftists running companies such as Amazon would surely love nothing more than to ban anything at all related to guns, they have also demonstrated with this recent move that even free information relating to such is discouraged.
However, Awelow addressed this concern preemptively, saying that “Code is speech. Proceeds [from the book] will be used to fight for free speech and the right to bear arms.”
Unfortunately, there will be no further proceeds from Amazon in its recent attempt to attack the second amendment by infringing on the first.