Washington, 7 other states file suit to block 3D printing of firearms

Saul Bowman
August 1, 2018

But blueprints for nine types of gun were uploaded to the Defense Distributed website on Friday.

In 2013, Wilson told CNN that it was an important symbolic political statement.

Defense Distributed reached a settlement with the U.S. State Department last month which would've allowed it to release blueprints for guns - including AR-15-like rifles - that could be downloaded and built with the help of 3D printers. The company's founder, Cody Wilson, developed a printable plastic pistol known as the "Liberator.380" in 2012 and put the plans online, but was blocked by the federal government.

But Eric Soskin, a lawyer for the US Justice Department, told Tuesday's federal hearing in Seattle, the government had reached a settlement with Defense Distributed because the regulations were created to restrict weapons that could be used in war, and the online guns were no different from the weapons that could be bought in a store. Democrats have filed a separate bill to require that all guns have at least one significant component made of metal.

Lawmakers cited safety concerns, considering the guns are made entirely of plastic, making them undetectable by metal detectors and untraceable, as they can be printed without registration.

I am thankful and relieved Judge Lasnik put a nationwide stop to the Trump Administration's risky decision to allow downloadable, 3D-printed ghost guns to be distributed online.

"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", he said.

Joining were attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Eight Democratic attorneys general had filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the settlement.

A website that will allow anyone to download files to 3D print guns is facing a new legal battle, this time from local attorneys general, who want to stop the files from circulating across the US.

"All you need is a little money and you can download a blueprint from the internet to make a gun at home", said the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer.

In addition, their lawsuit asks for a nationwide temporary restraining order that'll prevent Wilson's nonprofit from uploading the gun design files online. "These blue attorney generals haven't sued anybody else, they've only sued my client".

Hours before the restraining order was issued, Democrats sounded the alarm, warning about "ghost guns" that can avoid detection and pose a deadly hazard.

"As part of this decision, the United States has determined that the kind of guns you can go and buy in any store are not a threat to national security", Soskin said of the settlement.

"This year, to date, we have already taken 700 guns off the streets". Critics say it open up a Pandora's box of what they call ghost guns.

The State Department had ordered a gun rights activist to stop providing the directions. "This is really, if there was a terrorist or criminal rights organization, they would be cheering today because this is all about how people who shouldn't get guns can get guns easily", Durkan said.

Far more expensive 3D-printing equipment, used in industrial manufacture and aerospace, might create a gun that could be refined into an effective weapon, but access to such equipment, the time to print, and the cost of materials will remain prohibitive in combination for some time to come.

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