Online blueprints of 3-D guns blocked by Washington Judge

US states make last-minute legal bid to halt 3-D online guns

A federal judge on Tuesday stopped the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns as President Donald Trump questioned whether his administration should have agreed to allow the plans to be posted online.

Texas-based company Defence Distributed was previously ordered by the State Department to cease the publication of the blueprints in 2013, but had reached a settlement in June allowing them to make the plans available for download as of August 1.

A gun rights group blocked downloads of 3D gun plans from its website Tuesday after a federal judge sided with states arguing that the postings could help criminals and terrorists manufacture such weapons.

The government violated federal law by arbitrarily excluding the firearm designs from US export controls that have barred Austin-based Defense Distributed from publishing them, the coalition of Democratic attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia said in their complaint. They have never used their 3D printers to make a gun and say they never will.

Although DIY gunsmithing is legal in many forms under USA law, including when it's done with a 3D printer, critics have pushed back against the government's settlement, saying it would undermine domestic and global gun control efforts by greatly expanding access to untraceable homemade guns.

On Monday, eight states filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, seeking to block the settlement agreement. Founder Cody Wilson also posted designs for the gun online so other people could duplicate it, and they were downloaded about 100,000 times.

One website, CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, posted eight sets of files and reported more than 100,000 hits and almost 1.5 terabytes of data downloaded by 6 a.m. Wednesday.

An attorney for Defense Distributors told The Associated Press he doesn't know how many blueprints have been downloaded in the intervening days, but some news outlets say the online manuals have been downloaded thousands of times and posted elsewhere online. Users also will be able to share their own designs for guns, magazines and other accessories. "As we argued in the suit we filed yesterday, it is - simply - insane to give criminals the tools to build untraceable, undetectable 3-D printed guns at the touch of a button".

Trump had tweeted earlier that he was looking into the issue, adding, "Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!".

The firearms, including AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles, were fashioned from kits purchased online, according to police.

After a years-long court battle, the state department in late June settled the case against Defense Distributed.

President Trump weighed in on the matter with a tweet on Tuesday. "And not just any firearms, untraceable firearm", Menendez said. With 3D printing technology getting cheaper and more accessible, it will be nearly impossible to regulate these guns and stop people from producing them.

The firm reached a settlement with the Trump administration in June to allow it to legally publish the instructions. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those who think 3D printed guns are a bad idea.

Then there's also the option of making a gun the old-fashioned way, as some people have been doing for hundreds of years all over the world, including the United States. "People like to do home projects and change stuff around on their house; why wouldn't they want to do the same thing with their vehicles or their firearms?" said Brandon Combs, president of the Firearms Policy Coalition.

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