State AG Ferguson to file lawsuit over 3D-printed guns

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

State AG Ferguson to file lawsuit over 3D-printed guns

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson speaking at the 2017 GeekWire Summit.

Eight states are filing suit against the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas company to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun.

The 3D files include blueprints for a plastic AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle, a weapon that has been used in many United States mass shootings, as well as other 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.

It means anyone with a 3D printer - which costs around $2,000 and can be programmed to build objects of nearly any shape - will be able starting next week to make plastic-bodied guns at home for just a few hundred dollars each. This evening, the company agreed to block Pennsylvania users from its site, following an emergency hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Diamond.

"The notion that removal of an item from the [U.S. munitions list] is in the national security interest defies common sense", the attorneys general wrote in the lawsuit.

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Files showing how to replicate the process were immediately made available on the Defense Distributed website and downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Separately, attorneys general in 21 states urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to withdraw from the settlement with Defense Distributed, saying it "creates an imminent risk to public safety". In addition to granting Wilson permission to publicly release the files online, the government also agreed "to pay almost $40,000" in legal fees for Wilson, according to The New York Times.

"We're hoping to go back into court and get something more permanent", the acting state police commissioner, Lt. Col. Robert Evanchick, said Monday.

"The harm to Pennsylvanians would have been immediate and irreversible", Attorney General Shapiro said. And ARS Technica quoted Ferguson speaking about online gun files, saying, "After nearly 18 months I was skeptical that there was anything else that this administration would do that would truly shock me, but they have".

Cody Wilson, the founder of Defense Distributed, first published downloadable designs for a 3D-printed firearm in 2013. When you sign up, you are only required to pick a username, password and supply an email - you are not asked for proof of age, a valid gun license or a permit-to-carry number. The U.S. State Department quickly ordered Wilson to remove his plans, arguing that they violated worldwide arms treaties because the plans were in effect distributing weapons across the world. "They fund its direct, material expansion", according to the lawsuit. "We have the right to share it. Pennsylvania has no right to come in and tell us what we can and can't share on the internet". The lawsuit states that "among these controls are criminal laws, including the Pennsylvania Uniform Firearms Act". With those instructions, anyone with a 3D printer will be able to manufacture their own guns, without completing the background checks or meeting other requirements mandated by state laws.

Gun control proponents and state officials are racing the clock to try to block blueprints to make guns from 3D printers from going online Wednesday.

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