Judge extends block on 3D-printed gun blueprints while Wash. State and Trump admin. battle in court


Components of a 3D printed gun. (Flickr photo by Alexbp)

A federal judge in Seattle extended his order banning the release of instructions for 3D-printed firearms Monday, siding with Washington and other states in their lawsuit against the federal government.

Judge Robert Lasnik converted his temporary restraining order into a long-term injunction that prevents the makers of 3D gun blueprints from distributing the instructions online until the matter is adjudicated.

Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought a multistate lawsuit against President Donald Trump’s administration in late July, after the State Department allowed the gun plans to be released as part of a settlement in a separate 2015 lawsuit.

The Trump administration settled with Defense Distributed, a group that has created 3D gun tutorials, and the Bellevue, Wash., gun rights group the Second Amendment Foundation. The settlement would have allowed the plans to be released online. The defendants claim that to prevent the plans from being published is a violation of their First Amendment right to free speech.

In his ruling in U.S. District Court, Lasnik said “the irreparable burdens on the private defendants’ First Amendment rights are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, overall, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation.”

Ferguson applauded the ruling in a statement Monday but also said, “I have to ask a simple question: why is the Trump Administration working so hard to allow these untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns to be available to domestic abusers, felons and terrorists?”

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