Federal judge blocks release of plans for 3D-printed guns

Shapiro

Shapiro

A coalition of states controlled by Democrats is challenging a settlement reached by the Trump administration with Texas non-profit Defense Distributed to disseminate its manual allowing people to manufacture their own firearms.

It led to a backlash from lawmakers and, on Monday, Washington State attorney general Bob Ferguson announced that it would be suing the State Department "to stop the illegal distribution of 3D printed guns" on behalf of eight USA states.

In response to the State Department's decision, 21 state attorneys general sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to argue the decision was "deeply unsafe and could have an unprecedented impact on public safety".

Ferguson sued the administration over the decision Monday, prompting Judge Lasnik's restraining order Tuesday.

The company's website has said downloads will be allowed Wednesday, though blueprints have been posted since Friday. A lawyer for the company said he doesn't know how many blueprints have been downloaded since then.

Outrage over the administration decision is putting gun control back into the election-year political debate, but with a high-tech twist. "Why would we add to that risk for others and make it harder to put in place common sense steps that already exist?"

Trump's comments come as eight states and the District of Columbia are taking legal action against his administration for permitting the release of the gun-printing plans.

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., left, and Sen.

At least one Republican also expressed concern.

"Even as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment - this is not right", Alaska Sen.

Kenneth Schwartz reported this story for VOA News.

"Yesterday, [Defense Distributed] sued me for trying to keep untraceable guns out of the hands of terrorists and criminals". "So I just think we need to act responsibly and not allow this to go forward until we've really done due diligence on the issue". Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, said in a statement. It's a free-speech case. "Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA's support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm".

Defense Distributed made national headlines by developing gun computer files that enable consumers to create fully operational firearms with a 3-D printer.

Wilson said in an online video that the blueprints were downloaded more than 400,000 times before they were taken down in 2013. "It has also remained illegal for prohibited persons to build firearms with 3D printers or by any other means as well". All 3D-printed guns will be untraceable, and since you can make them yourself, no background check is required.

The second measure is meant to ensure that even guns primarily made of plastic can be discovered by metal detectors.

"This is a First Amendment case".

Attorney Josh Blackman, represents Defense Distributed, the Texas-based company releasing the 3D-printed plastic gun blueprints.

Kerry Stevenson, editor and founder of the 3D printing blog Fabbaloo, said the level of alarm over the release of the 3D-printed gun designs is unwarranted. And they're not usually very accurate.

Affordable 3D printers can not produce metal parts, and lack the precision to create robust enough objects for reusable, or even safe shooting.

Cody Wilson, director of Defense Distributed, said it is his constitutional right to post the files online.

The State Department reversed course last month, agreeing to allow Wilson to resume posting the blueprints.

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