Mon | Nov 19, 2018

US states aiming to stop internet release of 3D-printed gun plans

Published:Tuesday | August 21, 2018 | 9:54 AM
AP photo

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on whether to block a settlement the U.S. State Department reached with a company that would allow it to post blueprints for printing 3D weapons on the internet.

The federal agency had tried to stop a Texas company from releasing the plans online, arguing it violated export regulations.

But the agency reversed itself in April and entered an agreement with the company that would allow it to post the plans. The company is owned by a self-described “crypto-anarchist” who opposes restrictions on gun ownership.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia sued and last month secured a restraining order to stop that process, and now they want to make that permanent by having the judge convert the restraining order into an injunction.

They fear the plans, if disseminated online, could be used by people who are not legally permitted to buy or possess guns. Critics add that because the weapons aren’t made of metal, they would be undetectable.

Cody Wilson, owner of Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, has said “governments should live in fear of their citizenry.”

Wilson’s lawyers have said the safety risk from the 3D weapons claimed by the states is largely exaggerated because many of the files are already online.

The U.S. Justice Department argues that federal laws already prohibit the manufacture and possession of undetectable plastic guns, and they say the issues raised in this case are different.

The State Department oversees regulations involving the export of certain weapons, not domestic laws, therefore the injunction is not necessary, the Justice Department said.

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