Saturday, 18 August, 2018

Dispute over 3D-printed guns raises legal issues

Enlarge  The Defense Distributed website this Enlarge The Defense Distributed website this
Andrew Cummings | 03 August, 2018, 09:39

CHICAGO A U.S. judge has temporarily blocked online publication of blueprints for 3D-printed firearms, in a last-ditch effort to stop a settlement President Donald Trump's administration had reached with the company releasing the digital documents.

This comes after US President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) that he was consulting with the National Rifle Association over whether it makes sense for a Texas company to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun.

A federal judge yesterday blocked the online release of blueprints for making a gun on a 3D printer.

"These downloadable guns are unregistered and very hard to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health, or criminal history", said Bob Ferguson, the state's attorney general, in his statement about the lawsuit, which is being jointly filed by eight other states.

Although DIY gunsmithing is legal in many forms under US law, including when it's done with a 3D printer, critics have pushed back against the government's settlement, saying it would undermine domestic and worldwide gun control efforts by greatly expanding access to untraceable homemade guns.

Gun access advocacy group Defense Distributed was due to put downloadable gun blueprints online on Wednesday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the Justice Department "made a deal without the president's approval", referring to a settlement reached by the State Department in June. Anyone with access to the [Computer Aided Design] files and a commercially available 3-D printer could readily manufacture, possess, or sell such a weapon-even those persons statutorily ineligible to possess firearms, including violent felons, the mentally ill and persons subject to protection and no-contact orders. "It is temporary - and we'll be back in court immediately seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction".

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Wilson says that blocking the release of the blueprints is a violation of the First and Second amendments.

On Tuesday, before the court decision, the States Department Spokeswoman said, it'll be a hot topic. He says this is just another way of doing it.

CNN reported Wilson said he had suspended downloads of the 3D-printer gun "until he reviews the order". "The fight for public safety continues".

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson said the site has disabled downloads until he reviews the order.

Although this entire legal battle started with claims of censorship and prior restraint under the First Amendment mixed with the Second Amendment right to bear arms, it has morphed into a battle between the states and the federal government over a failure to follow procedure.

Trump had tweeted earlier that he was looking into the issue, adding, "Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!". The judge sided with Washington and other states, which sought the restraining order.

Sen. Chuck Schumer questioned Trump - as the president's administration settled a case with Defense Distributed to make the blueprints available.

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