Rusty Weiss called to our attention this morning an update to “arms trafficking” regulations posted to the Federal Register last week by the State Department. The National Rifle Association has sounded the alarm, having recognized quickly how these new regs would effectively shut down the exchange of information among gun enthusiasts on the web.
But the chokehold effect would be felt in other quarters as well. This move by the State Department is an absolutely terrible idea across the board. Even if it dealt with international trade in pork bellies or chicken parts, rather than arms, it should still be opposed strenuously on principle.
Its effect will be to make a tremendous chunk of what people talk about on the web every day subject to prior restraint, by, of all agencies, the State Department – or, potentially, other federal agencies, depending on topic.
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