States to sue Trump administration to block blueprints for 3D-printed guns

Access Blocked to Files for 3D Printing of Guns in Pennsylvania

Washington is leading a multi-state lawsuit against the Trump administration over its plan to allow the online distribution of guides to 3D printing firearms.

The blueprints are set to go online on Wednesday, following a June settlement between the USA government and Texas-based Defense Distributed that allows the company to legally publish the designs.

Five years ago, Cody Wilson launched what he now calls "the era of the downloadable gun", a time when anyone can use a 3D printer to make a working firearm.

"I'm not anxious for me, I'm anxious for the people of Pennsylvania, which is creating bad laws for their citizens", Wilson said Monday.

They say they are "ghost guns" that would be untraceable with no serial numbers and no background checks.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson announced the lawsuit Monday morning, with Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia signing on.

But a multi-state lawsuit is now seeking to issue a restraining order and an injunction to block Defense Distributed from publishing the 3D designs.

"We are prepared to litigate", Wilson told CNET in an emailed statement.

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Wilson had sued the USA government in 2015 after being ordered by State Department officials to take down a series of designs he posted for a 3-D printed pistol, dubbed "The Liberator".

Prior to the settlement, the two firearms organizations were at odds with the State Department over a mandate that 3D printed gun instruction manuals be removed from the internet. In an email, Wilson said he had uploaded the plans to its website on July 27 and that they were already available to download. Defense Distributed locates their servers in Texas so this district court would have jurisdiction over the case.

Update, 6:03p.m. PT: Adds the lawsuit has now officially been filed.

The federal government had been fighting the case since 2015, when Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson, a self-described anarchist, sued the State Department over a 2013 order demanding that he take down blueprints for "the Liberator", a single-shot.380 caliber handgun made nearly entirely of 3D-printed plastic.

But several efforts to stymie Defense Distributed have hit roadblocks.

"Letter takes only vague and general positions regarding nuisance and negligence law", responded Defense Distributed to the New Jersey letter. "Today, the defendants claimed in court that they began distributing gun files even earlier - on Friday".

Wilson, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation have by contrast maintained that this is a First Amendment case, claiming that the government's attempts to block the publication of the information on the web amounts to prior restraint barred by Supreme Court precedent. But surprisingly, in June, the Department of Justice settled with Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation.

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