US judge blocks release of 3D-printed gun blueprints

Lamar Ellis
August 1, 2018

They asked a federal judge in Seattle to block the State Department change in regulation that allowed Defense Distributed to go forward, arguing it permits criminals unfettered access to guns and "literally nullifies" state gun regulations.

Defense Distributed, which had challenged an earlier government ban as a violation of its First and Second Amendment rights, says on its website that it plans to release the plans by Aug 1.

But in June, the Trump administration reversed course and entered a settlement allowing Defense Distributed to publish plans online, starting August 1. Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, said in a statement.

Gun control advocates say the decision could result in the spread of unchecked, untraceable - and even undetectable - firearms that can easily be constructed by anyone - whether they're legally allowed to own a gun or not. "Doesn't seem to make much sense!".

Defense Distributed made national headlines by developing gun computer files that enable consumers to create fully operational firearms with a 3-D printer. He also said he was looking into the issue and had spoken to the NRA, which has not taken a public stance on this issue since a nonprofit posted downloads for such guns online on Friday. "I stand ready to help support your administration in efforts to bolster our national security".

Files showing how to replicate the process were immediately made available on the Defense Distributed website and downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. The State Department quickly advised Wilson to remove the information, saying it could be a violation of global export law.

The 3D-blueprints were removed from the site in 2013 because the government said it violated worldwide regulation laws, but eventually surrendered, concluding 3D-gun blueprints count as constitutionally protected speech.

"These unsafe files would allow anyone - including terrorists, domestic abusers, felons, fugitives, and juveniles - to print untraceable assault weapons using a 3D printer from the comfort of their own homes", said Attorney General Grewal.

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Eight states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration in an attempt to stop the blueprints from going online.

A firearms expert told CNN that a 3D printed gun would need to have some type of metal component because it's federal law.

"These downloadable guns are unregistered and very hard to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history", said Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The states sued Defense Distributed, the Second Amendment Foundation, the State Department and other federal agencies regulating weapons.

In 2013, police in New South Wales, Australia, manufactured copies of Wilson's original 3D gun, known as the Liberator, using a $1,700 desktop printer. State Department officials said the plans violated US export laws.

President Trump has denounced his administration's decision to allow the publication of instructions on how to make plastic guns using 3D printers. Anyone with access to 3D printing technology could make untraceable firearms with the information. "The company also agreed to not upload any new gun files to its sites - another important development".

"Some people might be scared of it just by the sound of it, but its not a big deal", said Mark Serbu, a Tampa-based gun manufacturer.

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