States sue to block sale of 3D-printed weapon designs online

Saul Bowman
July 31, 2018

Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, is well aware of the effects this settlement will have on gun control: "The age of the downloadable gun formally begins", boasts the company's website.

Attorneys general from nine states and Washington, D.C., are suing the State Department in an effort to prevent a Texas-based company from publishing downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed plastic guns, just days before the designs are set to go online.

At issue is a June settlement between the United States government and Texas-based Defense Distributed company that will allow it to legally publish gun blueprints online.

People can use the blueprints to manufacture a plastic gun using a 3D printer.

"I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you allowing unsafe criminals easy access to weapons?" He says 3D-printed guns present a real and present danger because they're both unregulated and untraceable. The U.S. State Department quickly ordered Wilson to remove his plans, arguing that they violated global arms treaties because the plans were in effect distributing weapons across the world.

Washington, along with seven other states and the District of Columbia, argue the administration's decision to allow the public distribution of downloadable guns unconstitutionally infringes on states' rights to regulate firearms and violates the Administrative Procedure Act. According to its website, "Defense Distributed is a non-profit, private defense firm". Anyone with access to a 3D printer can download the files necessary to build their own firearm.

In a new countersuit, Wilson's legal team argues his company is simply defending the right to bear arms. We reach unsafe ground when we let the government - federal, state or local - tell people what information they can and can't share over the internet.

"Americans have the right to this data", Wilson said.

Washington, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., are all joining together to seek a restraining order and an injunction to halt the release of the 3D printable gun files.

The government failed to study the impact of its decision and did not consult with other agencies before settling, making its actions "arbitrary and capricious", in violation of federal law, Ferguson said.

Ferguson said he hopes to file the lawsuit before the end of the day Monday.

"When it comes to something as basic as public safety, our State Department's saying, hey, this is a giveaway for terrorists", said Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

The 3D-printed guns files are slated to be uploaded on this Wednesday.

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