Executive Order Banning Online Gun Talk – What To Do About It
Russ Chastain 06.11.15
Folks are talking a lot about this, but few if any are telling us what we can do about it.
A recently-announced change in law–via “executive order,” which in itself is an illegal way to create or modify law–has proposed to ban something that most gun owners hold near and dear: The ability to talk about, read about, learn about, and show off our guns online.
In a June 3, 2015 issue of the Federal Register, “updates” have been made to some older set of rules, known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR).
It’s confusing, but essentially the Federal government is once again trying to clamp down on our rights. This time, they’re targeting both the First and Second Amendments by seeking to force citizens to beg their permission in order to discuss guns and ammo online.
Articles published thus far are full of dire language, mitigated by such qualifiers as “would” and “could.” Examples:
“Under his new orders, commonly used Internet discussions or videos on guns and ammo on the Internet and print media could be shut down permanently.”
“Failure to get Uncle Sam’s permission to ‘distribute data’ on firearms would result in your arrest. You could face a fine of up to one million dollars or up to 20 years in jail.”
“…it would include any web blog or forum discussing technical details of common guns and ammunition.”
“That would mean that the common blogger that posts a photo of his or her new AR-15 would be in violation of the new ITAR regulations.”
Another article, this one at Bearing Arms, is short and even more vague. It ends by saying, “These proposed changes are an affront to our First Amendment Rights and our Second Amendment Rights, and we will not stand idly by and see an entire industry muzzled overnight by the stroke of a pen.”
Problem: Both articles use dire language to scare people but don’t tell us what to do about it.
A nearly twenty minute video at the BA post above does have some info in it, but most folks don’t want to listen to warnings and complaints for a third of an hour. We want to know what to do now and how to do it. Succinctly.
Fail. “We don’t want this video to be long,” they say. Too late. Masters of language they are not: “It’s literally a punch in the face.” Um, no. It’s not.
So let’s try this. The thing at issue here is Department of State, 22CFR Parts 120, 123, 125, and 127, Public Notice 9149, RIN 1400-AD70.
The Federal Register states that, “The Department of State will accept comments on this proposed rule until August 3, 2015.”
Here’s how to comment about this, telling the State Department in no uncertain terms that we will not stand for this kind of restrictions on our freedom to communicate:
Email: [email protected] with subject line “ITAR Amendment—Revisions to Definitions; Data Transmission and Storage.”
Online: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and enter this in the search box: 1400–AD70. Then click the blue rectangular “Comment Now!” button to the right.
A note from the Feds: “Those submitting comments should not include any personally identifying information they do not desire to be made public or information for which a claim of confidentiality is asserted because those comments and/or transmittal emails will be made available for public inspection and copying after the close of the comment period via the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls Web site at www.pmddtc.state.gov.
“Parties who wish to comment anonymously may do so by submitting their comments via www.regulations.gov, leaving the fields that would identify the commenter blank and including no identifying information in the comment itself.
“Comments submitted via www.regulations.gov are immediately available for public inspection.”
This link may also work – if so, you can use the “Comment now” button near the top right of the page.
Let your voices be heard!