Published: Fri, August 03, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Judge issues order to stop release of 3-D plastic gun blueprints

Judge issues order to stop release of 3-D plastic gun blueprints

A federal judge on Tuesday stopped the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns as President Donald Trump questioned whether his administration should have agreed to allow the plans to be posted online.

"If an injunction is not issued and the status quo alters at midnight tonight, the proliferation of these firearms will have numerous negative impacts on a state level that the federal government once feared on the worldwide stage", US District Judge Robert Lasnik wrote in his order.

3-D printed guns are functional weapons that are often unrecognizable by standard metal detectors because they are made out of materials other than metal (e.g., plastic) and untraceable because they contain no serial numbers.

With more than 4,500 downloads as of Tuesday afternoon, the most popular blueprint on the site appeared to be for "the Liberator", a single-shot.380-caliber handgun made nearly entirely of 3D-printed plastic.

Gun safety advocates and some law enforcement officials oppose the release of the documents, anxious that firearm blueprints are exactly what criminals and terrorists want: guns that potentially can't be flagged by metal detectors, don't have serial numbers to trace and don't require the usual background checks.

Still, eight attorneys general filed a lawsuit to block the release of the blueprints from Defense Distributed, a Texas-based company, citing safety concerns.

A Texas company has the blueprints and was ready to download them free of charge.

The Trump administration had previously given the go-ahead for the online publication of the plans, which show how to make a firearm from printable parts. Among them were schematics for the Liberator, a single-shot.380-caliber handgun made nearly entirely of 3D-printed plastic. "It is temporary - and we'll be back in court immediately seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction". Wilson has argued that the restriction on his company violates its First Amendment rights. State Department officials said the plans violated US export laws.

Trump tweeted Tuesday he is "looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public", adding that he "already spoke to NRA".

Throughout the day several Democratic lawmakers criticized President Trump and the administration for capitulating to Wilson, despite previous legal victories.

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson said the site has disabled downloads until he reviews the order. Separately, attorneys general in 21 states urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday (Tuesday NZT) to withdraw from the settlement with Defense Distributed, saying it "creates an imminent risk to public safety". "Court orders him to keep his word". Wilson sued in 2015, claiming the order infringed his constitutional rights. A federal law passed in 1988 - crafted with NRA support - bars the manufacture, sale or possession of an undetectable firearm.

The firearms, including AR-15-style semiautomatic rifles, were fashioned from kits purchased online, according to police.

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