August 22, 2020
The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously ruled that New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal is “subject to the jurisdiction of Texas courts” in a First Amendment case brought by Defense Distributed, a Texas-based firm, and the Second Amendment Foundation.
The case revolves around plaintiffs’ distribution of materials related to the 3D printing of firearms. Defense Distributed and SAF contend Grewal’s efforts to prevent publication of the information online violates their First Amendment rights. Grewal has been fighting to stay out of Texas federal court in this case. He is one of nine Attorneys General to file suit in the Western District of Washington to enjoin the State Department from authorizing the release of Defense Distributed’s files. The opinion may be read here.
However, just before Grewal and his colleagues sued in Washington state, SAF and Defense Distributed filed their own legal action in the Western District of Texas challenging what they say is “select enforcement actions taken by the state Attorneys General.” Grewal, according to court documents, moved to dismiss “for lack of personal jurisdiction.”
“No one is above the law or the constitution, not even attorney General Grewal,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “If you trample on the First Amendment rights of gun owners trying to exercise their Second Amendment rights, you will be headed for trouble.”
In its ruling, the 5th Circuit noted, “Grewal’s conduct beyond sending the cease-and-desist letter confirms his intent to crush Defense Distributed’s operations and not simply limit the dissemination of digital files in New Jersey. Grewal’s enforcement actions are selective. He has not targeted the many similarly-situated persons who publish Defense Distributed’s files on the internet…Instead, he has focused solely on Defense Distributed. Perhaps nowhere is this better illustrated than in Grewal’s efforts to enjoin the national distribution of Defense Distributed’s files by suing in Washington, far from his or the plaintiffs’ home state. Grewal has also threatened Defense Distributed’s founder, Cody Wilson, by name, promising to ‘come after’ ‘anyone who is contemplating making a printable gun’ and ‘the next ghost gun company.’ Together, these actions confirm Grewal’s intent to force Defense Distributed to close shop.”
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.