Judge 3D-printed guns: US judge blocks release of blueprints online.
A federal judge in Seattle has issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns.
Eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government’s settlement with the company that makes the plans available online. They also sought a restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.
The US district judge Robert Lasnik issued the order Tuesday afternoon, saying: “There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made.”
The company behind the plans, the Texas-based Defense Distributed, had reached a settlement with the federal government in June that allows it to make the plans for the guns available for download on Wednesday.
The restraining order puts that plan on hold for now.
In the meantime, congressional Democrats have urged Donald Trump to reverse the decision to let Defense Distributed publish the plans. Trump tweeted Tuesday that he was “looking into” the idea, saying making 3D plastic guns available to the public “doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
After a years-long court battle, the state department in late June settled the case against Defense Distributed. The settlement, which took gun-control advocates by surprise, allowed the company to resume posting blueprints for the hard-plastic guns at the end of July. Those plans were put on hold by the Seattle judge’s decision.
Hours before the restraining order was issued, Democrats sounded the alarm, warning about “ghost guns” that could avoid detection and posed a deadly hazard.
“All you need is a little money and you can download a blueprint from the internet to make a gun at home,” said the Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer. “No background check. No criminal history check.”
The company’s website had said downloads would begin on Wednesday, but blueprints for at least one gun, a plastic pistol called the Liberator, have been posted on the site since Friday. A lawyer for the company said he didn’t know how many blueprints had been downloaded since then.
Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts noted that Trump had boasted that he alone could fix problems afflicting the country.
“Well, fix this deadly mistake that once again your administration has made,” Markey said.
Some Republicans also expressed concern.
“Even as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment this is not right,” the Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski tweeted, linking to a news story on the guns.
Markey, Blumenthal and other Democrats filed legislation that would prohibit the publication of a digital file online that allows a 3D printer to manufacture a firearm. Democrats also filed a separate bill to require that all guns have at least one non-removable component made of metal.
The second measure is intended to ensure that even guns primarily made of plastic can be discovered by metal detectors.
People can use the blueprints to manufacture plastic guns using a 3D printer. But industry experts have expressed doubts that criminals would go to the trouble, since the printers needed to make the guns can cost thousands of dollars, the guns themselves tend to disintegrate quickly and traditional firearms are easy to come by.