3D-printed guns: 21 states ask Trump admin for an emergency ban

Screenshot by Sean Hollister/Techhnews

21 states have banded together to protest 3D-printed weapons — and nine of them are about to sue.

A multi-state lawsuit will be filed Monday afternoon seeking to block a Trump administration action that would give the public access to downloadable plans for 3D printed weapons, including semi-automatic rifles, on Aug. 1. That’s just two days from now.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the lawsuit, with Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia pledging to sign on.

“These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history,” Ferguson said in the press release.  

Separately, 21 Attorneys General — including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington State — have sent a letter (PDF) to the US State Department and the Department of Justice asking them to immediately block the 3D-printed gun plans from appearing online.

Here’s the letter in full:

In 2013, Cody Wilson, owner of Defense Distributed debuted the world’s first 3D printed gun and in 2015, the weapon manufacturer sued after the US State Department forced the removal of their instruction manuals from the internet. 

But last month, the US Department of State agreed to waive its prior restraint order against Wilson and Defense Distributed, allowing them to freely publish designs and other technical files about 3D printed guns, according to a press release from the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF.) In the meanwhile, Wilson has reportedly been stockpiling new weapon designs, as well as working on a computer-controlled mill known as the Ghost Gunner that can automatically make functional AR-15 rifle parts out of a block of aluminum.

The State Department claimed it settled with Defense Distributed and SAF because the issues raised in the lawsuit won’t be relevant to it in the near future when the Department of Commerce will take over the responsibility of regulating exports and manufacturing of commercially available firearms.

In a Tweet posted Monday morning, Wilson said, “I am now being sued by at least 21 state attorneys general.” 

“We are prepared to litigate,” Wilson said in an emailed statement to Techhnews. “The American people have the unquestionable right to access this information.”

Defense Distributed confirmed in an email it plans to resume publication of 3D-printed gun plans on Aug. 1. 

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