Federal courts in 3 states block blueprints for 3D-printed guns

"I have a question for the Trump administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?" Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson asked.

By Susan McFarland and Daniel Uria

July 31 (UPI) -- Federal courts in three states issued rulings Tuesday to block the release of downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed firearms.

Courts in New York, New Jersey and Washington issued the rulings ahead of the deadline at midnight Tuesday when Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, would have been permitted to publish the plans online.


"Today Cody Wilson committed to not publish any new printable gun codes nationwide until a court hearing in September," New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal said.

Wilson told USA Today the agreement maintained "the status quo," by keeping existing files available, blocking New Jersey IP addresses and not posting any new files.

"We gave up nothing," Wilson said.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced on Twitter that the order would go into effect nationwide and described it as a "major victory for common sense and public safety."


"We just secured an order blocking [the] Trump [administration] from allowing the distribution of plans to print 3D guns. As we argued in our suit, it is crazy to give criminals the tools to build untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns at the touch of a button," Underwood wrote.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle issued the order in response to a multistate lawsuit led by Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, challenging a settlement that allowed the blueprints to be released online, the Seattle Times reported.

The lawsuit, says the public availability of the gun blueprint poses a "serious threat to the national security and public safety" -- partly because 3D-printed guns often elude metal detectors and are not stamped with a traceable serial number.

The suit says anyone with access to the blueprint and a 3D printer can easily make or sell a weapon -- even those barred by law from owning firearms.

"This will give anyone with a 3D printer access to these weapons," Ferguson said.

Joining Washington in the lawsuit filed Monday were attorneys general in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland and Washington, D.C.

Among those named in the suit were Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Trade Controls Mike Miller, Office of Defense Trade Controls Policy Director Sarah Heidema and Texas-based Defense Distributed.


In a ruling last week, a federal judge in Texas allowed Defense Distributed to publish the technical specifications online -- despite appeals from many opponents, including former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona. The judge said they failed to prove that they were a legitimate party to the case.

"I have a question for the Trump administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?" Ferguson asked, in a statement. "These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history.

"If the Trump administration won't keep us safe, we will."

On July 19, the U.S. State Department reached a settlement with the Second Amendment Foundation, on behalf of Wilson, to strip the official rules upholding the ban on posting the plans.

The department plans to transfer oversight of firearm exports to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech.

In 2015, Defense Distributed sued the federal government after the Obama-led State Department barred the instruction manuals from the Internet. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the case.


In a reversal June 29, the federal government settled the case. Under the settlement, the Trump administration will allow downloadable guns for unlimited public distribution in any form.

"I am now being sued by at least 21 state attorneys general. If you want your Second Amendment online, THIS is the fight. Join me," Wilson said in a tweet Monday.

Despite his administration clearing the way for the release of the plans, President Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted skepticism: "I am looking into 3D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!"

A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the name of Cody Wilson's company, Defense Distributed.

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