Federal Judge Issues Restraining Order Halting the Release of 3D Printed Gun Blueprints

A multistate lawsuit supported by eight Democratic attorneys general has, for now, put a block on the distribution of the digital files.
Loukia Papadopoulos

One day after Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced a lawsuit to stop the release of 3D-printed gun blueprints, a federal judge issued a restraining order halting the distribution of the digital files. The multistate lawsuit was supported by eight Democratic attorneys general.

Untraceable, undetectable ghost guns

Ferguson released a statement praising Seattle US District Judge Robert Lasnik for his ruling. “I am thankful and relieved Judge Lasnik put a nationwide stop to the Trump Administration’s dangerous decision to allow downloadable, 3D-printed ghost guns to be distributed online," read the attorney's statement.

"These ghost guns are untraceable, virtually undetectable and, without today’s victory, available to any felon, domestic abuser or terrorist. I hope the President does the right thing and directs his administration to change course," Ferguson continued.

Ferguson's concerns were shared by many political figures and even president Donald Trump had expressed reservations about the logic in making such weapons available to the public.

The Republican candidate had said he would consult with the National Rifle Association (NRA) regarding the issue.

Undetectable firearms already illegal

The NRA released a statement on the decision claiming that "anti-gun" politicians and the media were misleading in their statements regarding the dangers that 3D printing technology would lead to the proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms. The body argued there were already laws in place to protect against such outcomes.

"Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years. Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm," said Chris W. Cox, executive director, NRA Institute for Legislative Action.

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Meanwhile, Cody R Wilson, the founder of digital firearm firm Defense Distributed responsible for the lawsuit, announced that his project was going "dark." However, this is likely not the end of this ongoing battle. 

Wilson has launched a call to help uncensor his site by supporting "Defense Distributed’s political and technical fraternity" called LEGIO. What Wilson's next steps will be are unclear, however, for now, his opposition is celebrating their victory.

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