Should blueprints for 3-D printable guns be protected as free speech?

“This week marks the two-year anniversary since Cody Wilson, the inventor of the world’s first 3-D printable gun, received a letter from the State Department demanding that he remove the blueprints for his plastic-printed firearm from the internet. The alternative: face possible prosecution for violating regulations that forbid the international export of unapproved arms,” writes Andy Greenberg for Wired.

Now Wilson is challenging that letter. And in doing so, he’s picking a fight that could pit proponents of gun control and defenders of free speech against each other in an age when the line between a lethal weapon and a collection of bits is blurrier than ever before.

Wilson’s gun manufacturing advocacy group Defense Distributed, along with the gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation, on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against the State Department and several of its officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry. In their complaint, they claim that a State Department agency called the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) violated their first amendment right to free speech by telling Defense Distributed that it couldn’t publish a 3-D printable file for its one-shot plastic pistol known as the Liberator, along with a collection of other printable gun parts, on its website.

Today’s Question: Should blueprints for 3-D printable guns be protected as free speech?