Dispute over 3D-printed guns raises legal questions

Susan Hatfield

Nine states are suing the Trump administration to stop 3D-printed guns

CHICAGO A USA judge has temporarily blocked online publication of blueprints for 3D-printed firearms, in a last-ditch effort to stop a settlement President Donald Trump's administration had reached with the company releasing the digital documents.

Bob Ferguson, Washington State Attorney General says, "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".

On Tuesday Senate Democrats introduced a bill that would make it illegal to publish 3D-printer gun designs online.

"It is - simply - insane to give criminals the tools to build untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns at the touch of a button".

Eight states and Washington, D.C. sued the Trump administration to stop the Austin-based company from posting the downloadable blueprints.

According to spokeswoman Brionna Aho, the judge's ruling does not order Defense Distribution to take the plans for the guns off their website, but keeping them up is again illegal.

It has been reported that, although the blueprints were supposed to be made available from Wednesday, they were released early and have already been downloaded thousands of times.

The Trump administration had previously given the go-ahead for the online publication of the plans, which show how to make a firearm from printable parts. 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. "It is temporary - and we'll be back in court immediately seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction". They say the USA government has failed to study the national and state security implications of the decision and violated states' rights to regulate firearms.

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President Donald Trump says he is studying whether guns made by a three-dimensional (3-D) printer should be sold in the United States.

And Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the second-ranking Republican, said, "People shouldn't be under the impression they can download this and make an undetectable firearm". Fellow Democrat Edward Markey of MA said, "Donald Trump will be totally responsible for every downloadable plastic AR-15 that will be roaming the streets of our country if he does not act today". In response, Wilson has taken down his site and models, but he will be continuing the legal fight.

"A gun that can evade the detection system, it just defies common sense, and yet this is what the Trump administration has done", said Nelson.

Judge Robert S. Lasnik in Seattle agreed with the states and issued a restraining order.

A 1988 federal law - drafted with NRA support - barred the manufacture, sale or possession of an undetectable firearm.

But Rupert said a restraining order would keep the plans away from people who have learned about the technology and want to use it to get around gun laws.

Sen. Chuck Schumer questioned Trump - as the president's administration settled a case with Defense Distributed to make the blueprints available.

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