Recently, an Austin-based company, Defense Distributed, published a number of designs for 3D-printable guns that would easily be able to be printed in someone’s home using a traditional 3D printer. Furthermore, the guns would potentially be untraceable. Thousands of people are believed to have downloaded the files; however, many State’s attorneys general sought for, and have successfully blocked, thanks to a federal judge, the ability of the company to post the designs online for people to access.
A lawsuit had been filed against the U.S. State Department by eight states and the District of Columbia. The suit argued that publishing the files represented a threat to both public safety and national security.
Defense Distributed’s founder posted on his official Twitter page that he had filed lawsuits to attempt to dismiss the challenges specifically from Washington state, New Jersey, and Los Angeles.
The company had previously posted files for a single-shot pistol that could be printed using a 3D printer. It would have been printed out of plastic, but could have been easily fabricated using metal. According to the State Department, those specific files were in violation of federal arms export rules, and they ordered Defense Distributed to take the files down. The company’s founder then sued the State Department on First and Second Amendment grounds. That lawsuit has since been settled, which cleared the way for the company to publish the files back on August 1.
Recently, however, 21 attorneys general sent a letter to both the State Department and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions urging them to completely withdraw from the settlement.
A bill was also recently filed that would essentially outlaw the overall production of 3D-printed guns. Should the bill pass, they would be reclassified under federal law, which would then undo the State Department exemption.
Even Donald Trump himself appeared to oppose Defense Distributed’s production of the files, taking to his official Twitter page to state that it “doesn’t seem to make much sense.”
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