A US District Judge issued a restraining order on July 31 preventing the publication of blueprints for 3D printed guns.
Although these guns are illegal to buy or sell, it is still legal to make them. 3D guns are available to anyone who has a 3D printer, a blueprint, and the materials needed to make it, meaning that a background check or documentation would not be needed to own one.
Guns only made out of plastic are currently illegal in the US due to the Undetectable Firearms Act, which states that any gun that cannot be detected by a metal detector is illegal. This means that if a 3D printed gun has a metal plate inserted into the body of the gun, it is legal.
The first ever 3D printed gun is believed to be invented in 2013 by Cody Wilson, a then 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas. After creating the gun, he posted the blueprint on his website, DEFCAD. The US State Department later removed the blueprint from the website.
Since then, Defense Distributed, a Texas gun rights organisation headed by Cody Wilson, along with the Second Amendment Foundation, have attempted to sue the US State Department.
Defense Distributed back 3D printed guns by stating that they are defending the 1st and 2 nd Amendments: freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.
Wilson told CBS, “I believe that I am championing the Second Amendment in the 21st century”.
In June, a settlement was reached that allowed Defense Distributed to publish their gun plans on August 1. The company published the plans five days early, on July 27.
Following the publication of the plans, Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary, nationwide restraining order on the distribution of the blueprints, saying that 3D printed guns have the potential to cause “irreparable harm”. Lasnik organized another hearing on August 10.
After the decision was made, Wilson tweeted: “By order of a federal judge in the Western District of Washington, DEFCAD.com is going dark.”
Bob Ferguson, Attorney General of Washington state, had filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration on Monday and sought a restraining order against the distribution of the blueprints. Ferguson called Lasnick’s decision “a complete, total victory”.
Donald Trump has weighed in on the situation, tweeting: “I am looking into 3D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, has stated: “The president is glad these efforts were delayed to give more time to review the issue. This Administration supports the decades-old legislation already in the books that prohibits the ownership of a wholly plastic gun.”