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U.S. states sue Trump administration over lift of 3-D printable guns ban

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States are suing the Trump administration in hopes of halting the release of 3-D printable gun blueprints, like the one used to print this Liberator pistol.
States are suing the Trump administration in hopes of halting the release of 3-D printable gun blueprints, like the one used to print this Liberator pistol.

Image: Robert MacPherson/AFP/Getty Images

Just days before the blueprints for 3-D printable guns get released to the public, several U.S. states have jointly filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration in a bid to stop the release.

Washington State, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are all joining together to seek a restraining order and an injunction to halt the release of the 3-D printable gun files. They argue that these blueprints would allow criminals easy, unfettered access to firearms. 

In June, the State Department reached a settlement with Defense Distributed, a nonprofit that develops digital firearm blueprints for 3-D printing. The settlement would allow Defense Distributed to legally release downloadable gun blueprints as of August 1.

Critics have argued that these 3-D printable gun downloads are an immeasurable setback to gun control efforts in this country. 3-D printed guns are untraceable and require no background checks; you’re basically manufacturing the firearm yourself. Anyone with access to a 3-D printer can download the files necessary to build their own firearm.

Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, is well aware of the effects this settlement will have on gun control: “The age of the downloadable gun formally begins,” boasts the company’s website. Wilson took to Twitter to celebrate the upcoming August 1 blueprint release date.

The group released its first blueprint back in 2012. It was downloaded more than 100,000 times before the federal government stepped in and blocked the website. Defense Distributed’s files include blueprints to firearms ranging from the Liberator .380 pistol to the AR-15.

At a news conference announcing the soon-to-be-filed lawsuit, Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson pointed out that the Trump administration had failed to explain why it settled the case. Per Reuters, the government argued as recently as April of this year that 3-D printable guns would fall into the hands of criminal groups and extremists.

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