Legal experts weigh in on 3D printed guns debate

Enlarge  The Defense Distributed website this

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik granted a temporary restraining order on Tuesday night barring a trove of downloadable information about creating the do-it-yourself weapons.

President Donald Trump says he is studying whether guns made by a three-dimensional (3-D) printer should be sold in the United States.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley later told reporters it's illegal "to own or make a wholly plastic gun of any kind, including those made on a 3-D printer".

"It is - simply - insane to give criminals the tools to build untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns at the touch of a button".

Eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government's settlement with the company that makes the plans available online.

Hours later, five gun-rights activist groups based in California and Washington state posted the website Code Is Free Speech, offering freely downloadable code and instructions to make seven firearms, the same selection promised for Wilson's site. The settlement allowed the company to distribute its blueprints online.

Defense Distributed filed its own suit in Texas on Sunday, asserting that it's the victim of an "ideologically fueled program of intimidation and harassment" that violates the company's First Amendment rights.

"We should be doing everything we can to make it more hard for criminals, children, and individuals with serious mental illness to possess a gun".

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Then, in June, President Trump's Department of Justice offered Wilson a settlement that would allow Defense Distributed to once again publish 3D-printable CAD files. He said on Twitter he was looking into the idea of a company providing plans to the public for printing guns.

A 1988 federal law - drafted with NRA support - barred the manufacture, sale or possession of an undetectable firearm. "Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense".

The rise of 3D-printed guns could provoke a new era of "untraceable" weapons - and gun reform advocates are scrambling to figure out what to do.

The National Rifle Association said Tuesday that undetectable guns are illegal. "Because of Attorney General Ferguson's lawsuit, a federal judge has put this administration's risky plan on hold and has taken a responsible step to protect law enforcement, public safety, and our national security".

But Lasnik countered, "There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made". The restraining order is in place pending an August 10 hearing.

"We're disappointed", Wilson told The New York Times.

Eight Attorney's General across the nation questioned the practice of releasing plans for building a plastic gun on 3D printers.

"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.

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