White House: Justice department didn't consult Trump on 3D-printed guns

Saul Bowman
August 2, 2018

A U.S. federal judge in Seattle has blocked the release of software that allows consumers to 3D-print firearms.

The suit, filed Monday in Seattle, asks a judge to block the federal government's late June settlement with Defence Distributed that allowed the company to make the plans available online.

Eight states and the District of Columbia filed suit yesterday, led by Washington State's Attorney General Bob Ferguson, on the basis that the settlement violated both a required procedure for issuing a waiver for gun manufacture and the Tenth Amendment.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he was "looking into" 3D printed plastic guns.

The Free Beacon is awaiting comment from the NRA on the president's tweet.

But he added the fact the legislation includes the phrase "it shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally publish" "should attract the attention of anyone who's concerned about our First Amendment and other constitutional rights".

Trump said on Twitter that he had talked with the powerful National Rifle Association lobbying group about the weapons.

The president responded through Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley, who told reporters: "In the United States, it's now illegal to own or make a wholly plastic gun of any kind, including those made on a 3D printer".

Defense Distributed's website said it would publish the files on Wednesday but blueprints for seven guns already were available for download. It was downloaded about 100,000 times until the State Department ordered him to cease, contending it violated federal export laws since some of the blueprints were downloaded by people outside the United States.

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

The rise of 3D-printed guns could provoke a new era of "untraceable" weapons - and gun reform advocates are scrambling to figure out what to do. The Obama administration had opposed the move for many years.

Wolf says untraceable guns in the hands of unknown users "is too daunting to stand by and not take action". Among them were schematics for the Liberator, a single-shot.380-caliber handgun made nearly entirely of 3D-printed plastic. His goal is to keep publishing blueprints until every gun design on Earth is available to anyone online. They say anyone following those step-by-step directions could use 3-D printer technology to create a gun out of plastic. Democrats have filed a separate bill to require that all guns have at least one significant component made of metal.

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson said the site has disabled downloads until he reviews the order. The single-shot pistol was made nearly entirely out of ABS plastic - the same material Lego bricks are made from - and could be made on a 3D printer.

Unlike traditional firearms that can fire thousands of rounds in their lifetime, experts say the 3D-printed guns normally only last a few rounds before they fall apart.

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