Federal Judge Weighs State Department’s 3D Gun Settlement

Cody Wilson, with Defense Distributed, holds a 3D-printed gun called the Liberator at his shop, Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, in Austin, Texas. A federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
AP Photo/Eric Gay

A federal judge in Seattle begins to hear arguments today in a case surrounding the U.S. State Department settlement with 3D gun and gun-part designer Defense Distributed

The Obama State Department forced Defense Distributed to remove 3D print files from the internet in 2013. Two years later, on May 6, 2015, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit against the State Department, saying the prohibition against posting gun files violated First Amendment rights.

On July 10, 2018, Wired reported that Defense Distributed reached a settlement with the Trump State Department, whereby they would be allowed to upload 3D gun and gun part files to the internet, beginning August 1, 2018. But nearly 20 states and Washington, DC, sought a restraining order to block Defense Distributed, and company founder Cody Wilson, from uploading the files. As a result, the uploads were postponed and a court case on the settlement was scheduled to begin today, August 21, 2018.

The U.S. Justice Department filed a brief in the case explaining that the State Department’s role rests in “determining what technology and weaponry provides a critical military or intelligence advantage such that it should not be shipped without restriction from the United States to other countries (or otherwise provided to foreigners), where, beyond the reach of U.S. law, it could be used to threaten U.S. national security, foreign policy, or international peace and stability.” The DOJ then observed that uploaded 3D print files for guns and gun parts do not fall within the purview of the State Department: “Domestic activities that do not involve providing access to foreign persons, by contrast, are left to other federal agencies–and the states–to regulate.”

Fully plastic guns are already illegal and the illegality of such weapons is not altered by the settlement with the State Department. Firearms that are 100 percent plastic were outlawed via the Undetectable Firearms Act of 1988.

The case today is STATE OF WASHINGTON, et al. v. UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, et al. Docket No. C18-1115RSL. The Judge in the case is Robert S. Lasnik.

AWR Hawkins is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart News, the host of the Breitbart podcast Bullets with AWR Hawkins, and the writer/curator of Down Range with AWR Hawkins, a weekly newsletter focused on all things Second Amendment, also for Breitbart News. He is the political analyst for Armed American Radio. Follow him on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at awrhawkins@breitbart.com. Sign up to get Down Range at breitbart.com/downrange.


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