USA TODAY US Edition
Three courts block 3D-printable guns
Blueprints for plastic weapons were set to become available Wednesday
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.