Federal Judge Blocks Release of 3D Files for Guns

Cody Wilson, with Defense Distributed, holds a 3D-printed gun called the Liberator at his
AP Photo/Eric Gay

A federal judge Monday blocked a State Department settlement that would have allowed Defense Distributed to post 3D files for guns and gun parts online.

The case was the result of Washington state, together with 18 other states and the District of Columbia, suing to prevent Defense Distributed from posting their files online. Judge Robert Lasnik heard arguments on August 21.

The Obama State Department ordered Defense Distributed to remove 3D print files from the internet in 2013. On May 6, 2015, Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation filed suit against the State Department, claiming the ban against online gun files violated First Amendment rights.

On July 10, 2018, a settlement between Defense Distributed and the Trump State Department was announced. That settlement would allow the upload of 3D gun and gun part files to the internet, beginning August 1, 2018. Then Washington state sought a restraining order to block Defense Distributed from uploading the files, with the result that the uploads were postponed while the court considered the plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction.

On August 27, 2018, Judge Lasnik ruled in favor of a preliminary injunction against the State Department’s settlement with Defense Distributed.

The 3D gun debate has placed a lot of focus on untraceable guns, but an attorney with the Justice Department (DOJ) made clear that such firearms are already illegal. Untraceable guns were outlawed in 1988 via the Undetectable Firearms Act.

Additionally the Justice Department filed a brief explaining that the regulation and/or enforcement of laws regarding 3D printed guns falls outside the State Department’s purview. DOJ noted that the State Department’s role is “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.” DOJ observed that uploaded 3D print files for guns and gun parts do not fit within State Department oversight parameters.

Two routes now exist for Defense Distributed. They can accept the ruling and move on or they can appeal the case to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

The case is Washington v. U.S. Department of State, No. 2:18-cv-1115 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington.

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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