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Washington, 7 other states file suit to block 3D printing of firearms

31 July 2018

A lawsuit filed Monday by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is challenging the Trump administration's decision to allow the release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns, saying the move would provide broad unregulated access to unsafe weapons.

The controversy erupted after Defense Distributed recently settled with the federal government following a lengthy litigation, allowing it to continue its "at home" gun-printing business.

More than 1,000 people have already downloaded plans to make AR-style, 3-D printed guns - despite a court agreement barring access until Wednesday, officials said. Ferguson said in a statement Monday.

The 3D-blueprints were removed from the site in 2013 because the government said it violated global regulation laws, but eventually surrendered, concluding 3D-gun blueprints count as constitutionally protected speech.

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"Some of these weapons may even be undetectable by magnetometers in places like airports and government buildings and untraceable by law enforcement", the letter said. That same day Wilson and the Second Amendment Foundation filed a preemptive suit against New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal and L.A. City Attorney Michael Feuer, claiming the alleged intents of both men portend a violation of Wilson's First Amendment rights via "unconstitutional prior restraint". Defense Distributed has said it will start making computer-aided design specifications for guns available for downloads on August 1.

But a multi-state lawsuit is now seeking to issue a restraining order and an injunction to block Defense Distributed from publishing the 3D designs. Wilson posted the plans for his gun, called the Liberator, onto his website, where the plans were downloaded thousands of times.

Wilson took the plans down but then sued the federal government in 2015, arguing that the policy was infringing on his right to free speech and bear arms. 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".

The SAF had filed the lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson, who had designed a 3D printed gun and published the plans for the gun online.

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Ferguson said he hopes to file the lawsuit before the end of the day Monday.

"Yesterday, [Defense Distributed] sued me for trying to keep untraceable guns out of the hands of terrorists and criminals".

They asked a federal judge in Seattle to block the State Department change in regulation that allowed Defense Distributed to go forward, arguing it permits criminals unfettered access to guns and "literally nullifies" state gun regulations.

Defense Distributed did not reply to a request for comment on Monday.

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On July 10, the U.S. Department of Justice reached a settlement with the Second Amendment Foundation.

Washington, 7 other states file suit to block 3D printing of firearms