What just happened? A federal judge has sided with several states by temporarily blocking the posting of blueprints that enable people to create 3D-printed firearms. The move comes after President Trump tweeted that making the guns available to the public “doesn’t seem to make much sense.”
The ruling comes after the US State Department settled a case with Defense Distributed last month, allowing the company to make blueprints for the 3D-printed weapons available for download. That decision followed a four-year legal battle between the government and Defense Distributed owner Cody Wilson, along with gun-rights activist group The Second Amendment Foundation, over the plans.
But the settlement didn’t bring the situation to a close. A multi-state lawsuit sought to issue a restraining order and an injunction to block Defense Distributed from publishing the 3D designs.
Judge Robert S. Lasnik in Seattle agreed with the states and issued a restraining order. He said releasing the blueprints would cause “a likelihood of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made.”
Another victory! In addition to the NJ court order today, we joined a lawsuit in Washington State against the fed gov’t for failing to protect public safety from printable gun codes. Federal judge just ordered that the fed gov’t cannot allow @defdist’s dangerous conduct.— NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal (@NewJerseyOAG) July 31, 2018
Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the decision “a complete, total victory.”
“We were asking for a nationwide temporary restraining order putting a halt to this outrageous decision by the federal government to allow these 3D downloadable guns to be available around our country and around the world. He granted that relief,” Ferguson said. “That is significant.”
Cody Wilson said he has now shut down his site as a result of the Judge’s ruling. "By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, http://DEFCAD.com is going dark," he tweeted.
By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, https://t.co/ZEOYuTOs4a is going dark.— Cody R. Wilson (@Radomysisky) August 1, 2018
President Trump weighed in on the matter with a tweet on Tuesday. “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public,” he said. “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018
Defense Distributed was set to make the blueprints available yesterday (August 1), but some were released early and had already been downloaded thousands of times. CNN reports that another organization, the Firearms Policy Coalition, has posted the plans online, arguing that it "does not recognize" the court order.
The National Rifle Association said that undetectable plastic guns are already illegal.
"Many antigun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3D-printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms," said Chris Cox, the NRA's executive director for legislative action.
"Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years. 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."