Three courts block 3D-printable guns

Blueprints for plastic weapons were set to become available Wednesday

- Deirdre Shesgreen and Josh Hafner

WASHINGTON – Three courts barred the chief promoter of 3D-printable guns Tuesday from posting his designs online, hours before a midnight deadline that would have made such informatio­n widely accessible.

Courts in New York, New Jersey and Washington state issued rulings barring Cody Wilson and his company, Defense Distributi­on, from uploading instructio­ns for making 3D-printable guns at midnight Wednesday – as he had planned to do under a settlement reached in June with the Trump administra­tion

“Today, Cody Wilson committed to not publish any new printable gun codes nationwide until a court hearing in September,” New Jersey’s attorney general, Gurbir Grewal, announced, calling it a “big victory for public safety and law enforcemen­t safety.”

Wilson downplayed the court agreement in an email to USA TODAY.

“We agreed to maintain the status quo, keep up existing files, block (New Jersey) IP addresses, and not post new files. We gave up nothing,” Wilson said.

President Donald Trump said in a tweet Tuesday morning that he was “looking into” easy access to blueprints for 3D-printable guns, saying the idea “doesn’t seem to make much sense.”

Wilson designed a 3D-printable plastic pistol, called the “Liberator .380,” in 2012 and put the plans online. The State Department advised Wilson to remove the informatio­n, saying it could be a violation of internatio­nal export law.

Wilson complied but sued the State Department and its chief, John Kerry, who ran the agency in the Obama administra­tion.

In June, the State Department, now led by Trump Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, settled the case with Wilson. Under that agreement, Defense Distribute­d planned to post downloadab­le instructio­ns for 3D-printable guns, making such firearms available to anyone with the right machine and materials.

Defense Distribute­d already sells parts that help users build their own untraceabl­e firearms, known as “ghost guns” for their lack of serial numbers. All 3D-printed guns would be untraceabl­e, and because people can make them themselves, no background check is required.

That prospect startled gun control advocates, who said it could worsen gun violence in the USA and make it easier for terrorists to gain access to firearms. Eight states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administra­tion Monday to block the 3D-printed weapons from becoming available.

Washington state’s attorney general, Bob Ferguson, leads the legal challenge.

 ?? JAY JANNER/AP ?? Cody Wilson says his Liberator pistol was made with a 3D printer.
JAY JANNER/AP Cody Wilson says his Liberator pistol was made with a 3D printer.

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