Federal judge blocks release of 3-D printable gun designs

Federal judge blocks release of 3-D printable gun designs

Federal judge blocks release of 3-D printable gun designs

A USA judge on Tuesday blocked the planned release of 3-D printed gun blueprints hours before they were set to hit the internet, siding with states that sued to halt publication of designs to make weapons that security screening may not detect.

A federal judge in Washington state has blocked the release of plans to build plastic guns on 3D printers online. "There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made", he said. In 2013, Wilson published designs for a single-shot pistol that could be 3D printed out of plastic and fabricated with easily accessible metal parts.

On Monday, eight states filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, seeking to block the settlement agreement. They also sought a restraining order, arguing the 3D-printed guns would be a safety risk.

Officials say that 1,000 people have already downloaded the directions for plastic guns. The settlement allowed the company to distribute its blueprints online.

Senator Edward Markey of MA, a Democrat, said Trump has boasted that he alone can fix problems afflicting the country.

3D printed guns generally fall apart after a couple of shots. The US Supreme Court had declined to take up his case.

While gun ownership is protected under the Second Amendment, Lata Nott, executive director of the First Amendment Center at the Freedom Institute, said the case may ultimately come down to whether or not the code to print a gun is considered speech.

On Tuesday, before the court decision, the States Department Spokeswoman said, it'll be a hot topic.

Trump said Tuesday that he's "looking into" the idea, saying making 3D plastic guns available to the public "doesn't seem to make much sense!". A U.S. judge ruled that a website had to temporarily suspend posting the blueprint for undetectable firearms. A federal law passed in 1988 - crafted with NRA support - bars the manufacture, sale or possession of an undetectable firearm.

Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he was concerned that distribution of the blueprints could allow terrorists and worldwide criminal organizations to manufacture guns that can't be detected.

On Monday, 21 state attorneys general signed a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, urging them to withdraw from the settlement agreement.

But Defense Distributed had other plans, including those for a semi-automatic rifle similar to the AR-15, that have now been put on hold.

Although this entire legal battle started with claims of censorship and prior restraint under the First Amendment mixed with the Second Amendment right to bear arms, it has morphed into a battle between the states and the federal government over a failure to follow procedure.

A four-year legal battle followed between digital weapons publisher Defense Distributed, pro-gun activists the Second Amendment Foundation and the federal government, which concluded with a surprise decision that U.S. citizens can "access. use and reproduce" the plans.

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