Ruling forces website to suspend downloads for 3D gun plans

A gun rights group that has posted blueprints to make guns with 3D printing technology blocked downloads fro...

Posted: Aug 1, 2018 2:26 PM
Updated: Aug 1, 2018 2:26 PM

A gun rights group that has posted blueprints to make guns with 3D printing technology blocked downloads from its website Tuesday after a federal judge sided with states that argued the postings could help criminals and terrorists manufacture such weapons.

Judge Robert Lasnik's ruling didn't order the plans to be taken down but temporarily blocked a settlement that Defense Distributed, a Texas-based gun rights organization, and the federal government reached in June that made it legal to post 3D-printable gun plans online.

Andrew Cuomo

Continents and regions

Firearms

Government and public administration

Gun control

New York (State)

New York City

North America

Northeastern United States

Political Figures - US

Political platforms and issues

Politics

The Americas

United States

Weapons and arms

3D printing

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Computer science and information technology

National Rifle Association

Political advocacy groups

Political organizations

Technology

Government bodies and offices

US federal government

Decisions and rulings

Law and legal system

Trial and procedure

Restraining orders

Constitutional law

Right to bear arms

"This is a nationwide ban. ... It takes us back to a period of time before the federal government flipped on their policy regarding these 3D ghost guns," Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said on "Anderson Cooper 360˚"

"What it means is if anyone posts this information online, they are in violation of federal law and can suffer very serious consequences. So, it makes it unlawful to post that information and make it available to the public."

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

Later he tweeted: "By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, http://DEFCAD.com is going dark."

The website had touted that plans for several plastic weapons would be available Wednesday to people who had signed up for a login. Some plans had already been available for download.

The settlement with the federal government had ended a multiyear legal battle that started when Wilson posted designs for a 3D-printed handgun he called the Liberator in 2013. The single-shot pistol was made almost entirely out of ABS plastic -- the same material Lego blocks are made from -- and could be made on a 3D printer.

The Liberator would contain a 6-ounce piece of steel that can be removed, raising the possibility that walk-through metal detectors would not detect the guns, Ferguson and other states' attorneys general alleged in the lawsuit before Lasnik.

Gun control advocates have warned that such weapons would be made without serial numbers and be largely untraceable by law enforcement. Proliferation of 3D printing plans also would make it easier for people who cannot pass criminal background checks to access guns, they say.

The high-end 3D printers needed to make such weapons cost thousands of dollars and may be too expensive for most people. But that doesn't ease the concerns of those who think 3D-printed guns are a bad idea.

In 2013, the US government made Defense Distributed take the blueprints down, saying they would violate International Traffic in Arms Regulations, potentially allowing someone in a country to which the US doesn't sell weapons to download the plans to make their own guns. Wilson sued the federal government in 2015, and the Trump administration settled the case in June.

But Lasnik found the government didn't follow procedure when agreeing to the settlement.

"Plaintiffs have shown a likelihood of success on the merits of their Administrative Procedure Act claim," the judge wrote.

CNN reached out to Josh Blackman, an attorney for Defense Distributed, for comment.

The litigants will return to court on August 10 to discuss whether a preliminary injunction is needed.

Ferguson announced Monday he was leading the lawsuit, which originally involved eight states and the District of Columbia. The petition for the temporary restraining order was filed in federal court in Seattle. Iowa and Virginia joined the case on Tuesday.

Alan Gottlieb, a founder and vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation, told CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time" that it was a matter of applying the First Amendment to protect citizens' Second Amendment rights. He said some communities are losing access to firearms sellers because of local laws.

"If you're allowed to own a firearm in your own home," he said, "you should be able to make the firearm in your own home if you can't buy one locally because of crazy restrictions."

New York: Release of plans is 'reckless'

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo also announced a series of actions Tuesday to prevent the distribution of the 3D-printable gun designs. Cuomo issued a cease-and-desist letter to Defense Distributed to block the distribution of designs for 3D-printed guns in New York. The governor called the impending release "reckless."

Cuomo directed state police to issue a notice reminding New Yorkers that manufacturing firearms defined as assault weapons is illegal in New York.

"As the nation rises up and calls for action against gun violence, it is absurd and frightening that the federal government wants to make accessing an automatic weapon as easy as hitting print," he said. "New York is proud to have the strongest gun safety laws in the nation, and we won't let this federal government take us backwards."

Cuomo said he will pursue legislation to bolster the state's gun safety laws and outlaw private production of all 3D-printed and "ghost guns" that are untraceable and invisible to metal detectors.

Cuomo's actions came after Pennsylvania went to court Sunday to block early distribution of the plans, which weren't supposed to be available for download until Wednesday. But more than 1,000 designs were downloaded recently in advance of the agreed-upon August 1 date.

At the hearing, Defense Distributed agreed to block Pennsylvania IP addresses for a few days until a more formal hearing could be held.

Blackman, the Defense Distributed lawyer, told CNN on Monday the Pennsylvania case was about free speech rights, not the manufacture of guns.

"One state cannot censor the speech of a citizen in another state," he said.

'We know this fight is not yet over'

The National Rifle Association said Tuesday that undetectable guns already are illegal.

"Many antigun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3D-printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms," said Chris Cox, the NRA's executive director for legislative action.

"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."

Cox was referring to the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988.

The statement came after President Donald Trump expressed skepticism over the ability to download plans for 3D-printed guns legally, saying in a tweet that he's spoken with the NRA about them because the technology "doesn't seem to make much sense!"

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence applauded the decision temporarily blocking the 3D-printed guns.

"It is immediately obvious to anyone who looks at this issue that 3D-printed guns are nothing short of a menace to society, and we are thrilled that the court ruled in this manner," Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign, said in a statement.

"The efforts of these attorneys general throughout the nation have helped strike a powerful blow against the scourge of 3D-printed guns, but we know this fight is not yet over. We will continue to do everything in our power to make sure that this temporary halt in publication becomes a permanent one."

Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 53°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 52°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 53°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 51°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
53° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 53°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 701847

Reported Deaths: 8777
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby779711168
Davidson72385688
Knox39701432
Hamilton35466337
Rutherford33860294
Unassigned23587134
Williamson21906144
Sumner18644232
Out of TN1615282
Montgomery14979149
Wilson14728164
Sullivan12893218
Blount12267132
Washington12102203
Maury11179128
Bradley1108895
Sevier10704120
Putnam10116151
Madison9273183
Robertson782687
Hamblen7172117
Anderson6947114
Greene6719115
Tipton632969
Gibson5733114
Coffee573282
Dickson552682
Cumberland550576
Bedford540391
Roane530081
Lawrence518869
Carter5171115
McMinn516774
Warren504454
Loudon503550
Jefferson490178
Dyer483386
Monroe467063
Hawkins455272
Franklin420065
Fayette408751
Obion404582
Rhea388457
Lincoln385546
Marshall353338
Cocke352758
Cheatham347331
Weakley344248
Henderson336559
Campbell334940
Giles330574
Carroll315860
White315144
Hardeman314054
Hardin304250
Lauderdale296933
Macon293251
Wayne267424
Henry266958
Overton258846
DeKalb246342
McNairy245442
Haywood243747
Smith234230
Marion233932
Trousdale230315
Scott228832
Hickman227835
Claiborne224932
Fentress215734
Grainger214339
Johnson204634
Morgan193916
Crockett182438
Chester177439
Bledsoe177011
Unicoi169545
Cannon160320
Lake157821
Decatur148628
Polk147817
Union143225
Grundy142622
Sequatchie140319
Humphreys136717
Benton133435
Lewis130121
Meigs117616
Stewart109620
Jackson105723
Perry95825
Clay95426
Houston94624
Moore8299
Pickett69020
Van Buren6737
Hancock4177

Community Events