WASHINGTON DC –A federal judge has blocked the publication of 3D-printed gun blueprints.
“Today’s win against the Trump Administration is just the first step. We will keeping fighting to stop this Administration from allowing criminals and terrorists to build untraceable and undetectable guns at home with the click of a mouse,” said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
On Monday, Massachusetts Attorney joined a multi-state lawsuit todayseeking to block a Trump Administration action that gives dangerous individuals access to downloadable, untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed weapons.
The complaint against the U.S. Department of State was filed by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson in federal court.
States that signed on to the lawsuit along with Massachusetts were California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, and Pennsylvania.
The action sought to stop a settlement and rule changes that would allow the company Defense Distributed to post files online to allow individuals to print guns using 3D printers.
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.
“The federal government is trying to allow access to online plans that will allow anyone to anonymously build their own downloadable, untraceable, and undetectable gun,” said Healey in a media statement on Monday. “This is an imminent threat to public safety and violates the law. We have a responsibility to ensure that these files are not made easily available to the public.”
The attorneys general expressed serious concerns over the federal government’s recent settlement with Defense Distributed, an online company that in 2013 was previously instructed by the U.S. Department of State to remove downloadable files for building firearms from its website.
In Monday’s lawsuit, the attorneys general sought a nationwide injunction requiring the federal government to refrain from making any rule changes that will allow these firearms to be available online.
The Arms Export Control Act requires the federal government to reduce the international trade of firearms abroad, which the federal government has successfully done through the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, in part by prohibiting certain technical data about weapons from being made publicly available.
Many states, including Massachusetts, also have independent laws and regulations to prevent gun violence and protect public safety.
The attorneys general argued publicly available information on 3-D printed weapons will enable the production of firearms that are untraceable and undetectable by magnetometers in places such as airports, government buildings and schools. Additionally, unrestricted access to this kind of information will increase illegal trafficking of weapons across state and national borders.
The attorneys general also expressed their concern about the Department of State’s abrupt change in position on these matters, pointing to arguments the Department of Justice and Department of State have made for years in the challenge brought by Defense Distributed. Until very recently, the Department of State had argued that the federal government has a strong national security interest in the regulation of these types of files.
The attorneys general noted courts have previously recognized the risk of allowing these gun designs to be publicly available on the Internet, and urge the Administration not to disregard those rulings.