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8 states sue to stop the release of 3D-printed rifle blueprints

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3d printed gun
More
than 1,000 people have already downloaded plans to 3D-print an
AR-15-style gun after a Texas company released the blueprints
over the weekend. The above image shows how a 3D-printer would
create a handgun.

Getty
Images


  • Eight states filed a lawsuit against the Trump
    administration on Monday, asking a judge to block the recent
    decision to let a Texas company publish 3-D printer blueprints
    for an AR-15-style rifle.
  • They argue that the DIY firearms will be used by
    terrorists and criminals to subvert America’s gun control
    laws.
  • However, the damage may already be done since more than
    1,000 people have downloaded the blueprints since they were
    made available on Friday.

Eight states are filing suit against the Trump administration
over its decision to allow a Texas company to publish
downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun, contending the
hard-to-trace plastic weapons are a boon to terrorists and
criminals and threaten public safety.

The suit, filed Monday in Seattle, asks a judge to block the
federal government’s late-June settlement with Defense
Distributed, which allowed the company to make the plans
available online. More than 1,000 people have already downloaded
blueprints for AR-15 rifles, according to
CNN
.

“I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you
allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?” Washington
Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, said in a statement
Monday. “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.”

Joining the suit were Democratic attorneys general in
Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon,
Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia. Separately,
attorneys general in 21 states urged Secretary of State Mike
Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to withdraw
from the settlement with Defense Distributed, saying it “creates
an imminent risk to public safety.”

People can use the blueprints to manufacture a plastic gun using
a 3D printer. But gun industry experts have expressed doubt that
criminals would go to the trouble, since the printers needed to
make the guns are very expensive, the guns themselves tend to
disintegrate quickly and traditional firearms are easy to come
by.

Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, first published
downloadable designs for a 3D-printed firearm in 2013. It was
downloaded about 100,000 times until the State Department ordered
him to cease, contending it violated federal export lawssince
some of the blueprints were downloaded by people outside the
United States.


Cody Wilson
Cody
Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, shows off a magazine
he 3D-printed for an assault rifle in 2013. Wilson’s company is
the subject of Monday’s lawsuit.


Defense
Distributed via YouTube



The State Department reversed course in late June, agreeing to
allow Wilson to resume posting the blueprints. The files were
published on Friday.

The company filed its own suit in Texas on Sunday, asserting that
it’s the victim of an “ideologically-fueled program of
intimidation and harassment” that violates the company’s First
Amendment rights.

The company’s attorney, Josh Blackman, called it an “easy case.”

States are free to enact gun control measures, but “what they
can’t do is censor the speech of another citizen in another
state, and they can’t regulate the commerce of another citizen in
another state when that commerce is authorized by a federal
government license,” Blackman said in an interview Monday. “It’s
a violation of the First Amendment, it’s unconscionable and we’re
going to fight it to the very end.”

Defense Distributed agreed to temporarily block Pennsylvania
residents from downloading the plans after state officials went
to federal court in Philadelphia on Sunday seeking an emergency
order. The company said it has also blocked access to users in
New Jersey and Los Angeles.

___

Associated Press writer Lisa Marie Pane contributed to this
story.

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