US judge blocks release of 3D gun blueprints

Chicago: A US judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the 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. Eight states and the District of Columbia, which houses the capital Washington, had filed a lawsuit against the federal government, calling its settlement with Texas-based Defence Distributed “arbitrary and capricious.” The Trump administration had settled a five-year legal fight by permitting the company to publish its website Defcad — which founder Cody Wilson envisioned as a WikiLeaks for homemade firearms called “ghost guns.” Those weapons can be manufactured using 3D printers or personal steel mills, and lack traceable serial numbers.

At least one of the guns can also be made from plastic, which is virtually invisible to metal detectors. US District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle said Washington granted the plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order blocking the release of the digital plans, and scheduled a hearing for August 10. New York Attorney-General Barbara Underwood, one of plaintiffs, called the ruling “a major victory for common sense and public safety.” “
As uproar mounted on Tuesday, the White House expressed skepticism over the legality of Wilson’s efforts, even though the administration had green-lighted the project.
Trump weighed in on Twitter, revealing that he had spoken to America’s main pro-gun lobby, the National Rifle Association, about the topic. “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public,” the president said. “Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” White House spokesman Hogan Gidley expanded on the president’s comments on Tuesday night, telling reporters: “It is currently illegal to own or make a wholly plastic gun of any kind — including those made on a 3D printer. The administration supports this nearly two-decade old law.”

Twenty-three Democratic senators later introduced a bill designed to block the publication of 3D printable firearm blueprints. Wilson remained defiant and vowed to fight in court. Wilson, a law school dropout who has taken up the cause of allowing unfettered information online without government interference, contends that the US Constitution’s Second Amendment, which guarantees the right to bear arms, should extend to a person’s right to make their own guns. But federal courts have disagreed. — AFP