Aug. 1 (UPI) -- After federal courts in three states blocked the release of downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed guns, a group of Second Amendment activists released the plans anyway.
The suit brought by attorneys general in eight states sought the ban 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 blueprints and a 3D printer can easily make or sell a weapon -- even those barred by law from owning firearms.
Courts in New York, New Jersey and Washington issued the rulings Tuesday ahead of the midnight deadline when Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributed, would have been permitted to publish the plans online.
Hours later, five gun-rights activist groups based in California and Washington state posted the website Code Is Free Speech, offering freely downloadable code and instructions to make seven firearms, the same selection promised for Wilson's site.
A post on the website thanked Wilson and Defense Distributed for their "courage, passion, innovation and inspiration."
"Our Constitution's First Amendment secures the right of all people to engage in truthful speech, including by sharing information contained in books, paintings and files. Indeed, freedom of speech is a bedrock principle of our United States and a cornerstone of our democratic republic," the group said in a statement.
U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik, who issued the temporary restraining order on Wilson's company, said public safety is the concern, not data restriction. The restraining order is in place pending an Aug. 10 hearing.
"If an injunction is not issued and the status quo alters at midnight tonight, the proliferation of these firearms will have many of the negative impacts on a state level that the federal government once feared on the international stage," Lasnik said.