Massachusetts AG Sued Over Clamp on 3D Gun Records

BOSTON (CN) – A pair of gun-rights activists claim in court that the attorney general of Massachusetts cannot use her investigation into 3D-printed guns to withhold public records.

Cody Wilson, with Defense Distributed, holds a 3D-printed gun called the Liberator at his shop in Austin, Texas, on Aug. 1, 2018. A federal judge in Seattle has granted an injunction that prohibits the Trump administration from allowing a Texas company to post 3D gun-making plans online. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, file)

Represented by the firm Lynch Scrimo in Lenox, Mass., plaintiffs Brent Carlton and Brandon Combs brought their suit on Sept. 17 in Suffolk Superior Court.

While Carlton is president of the group Comm2A, Combs is president of Firearms Policy Coalition. Early last month, both men brought requests for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey to produce copies of public records that referenced various websites and organizations involved in advocating for the deregulation of 3D-printed guns.

On Aug. 29 both men received what the complaint describes as “a blanket refusal to provide any records whatsoever.”

“Defendant has improperly asserted privilege and/or exemption under [the state’s public records law] in an invalid and overbroad manner to avoid producing records [that are] properly the subject of the Massachusetts Public Records Law,” the complaint states.

In support of her refusal, Healey claimed that the records were exempt because they pertain to ongoing litigation and thus might reveal investigation techniques and litigation strategies.

Back in July, Healey formally joined a multistate lawsuit in Washington state to block the public access to downloadable gun plans for 3D printers.

Carlton and Combs argue that Healey’s denial is too broad in its claim for exemption.

“Although Attorney General Healey likes to talk about the importance of the rule of law, she seems to think that the law does not apply to her office when it comes to her incessant political grand-standing, particularly regarding guns,” Carlton said in a statement.

Copies of the letters by Combs and Carlton are included as exhibits to the complaint.

A representative from the Attorney General’s Office declined to comment, saying the complaint had not yet been served as of Wednesday evening, and that they would not comment without reviewing it.

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