Temporary restraining order in release of 3D-printed gun: Judge

July 31, 2018

A federal judge in Washington state has granted a temporary restraining order sought by a coalition of states to block a Texas-based company from distributing online blueprints for 3D-printed guns.

In a notable win for gun control advocates, Judge Robert S. Lasnik on Tuesday granted the states’ motion for a temporary restraining order. He scheduled a hearing in the case for Aug. 10.

“In a major victory for common sense and public safety, a federal judge just granted our request for a nationwide temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration from allowing the distribution of materials to easily 3-D print guns,” said New York Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood.

The company, Defense Distributed, had set Wednesday as the formal release of its gun blueprints after striking a deal with the administration to undo an Obama-era blockade.

But the states sued on Monday, petitioning the court for an order blocking the government from enforcing the terms of the deal, which allowed the company to publicly release the plans as of Friday.

Lawyers for Defense Distributed have argued that Cody Wilson, its founder, has the right to post the files on free speech grounds. The company had already started posting files online late last week after a separate court in Texas ruled in its favor.

“We are disappointed in this ruling, which will result in a global injunction on the freedom of speech,” said Josh Blackman, one of the lawyers for the company.

The coalition of states who sued included New York, Washington , Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, as well as the District of Columbia.

“For unknown reasons, the federal government has put the country in a clear and present danger of the irreversible proliferation of untraceable and, if made with non-metal components, undetectable guns,” the states argued in their petition for the restraining order.

The State Department, which struck the deal, was also named in the suit.

The Justice Department said the states were reaching too far in asking the court to block actions the government has already taken and was obligated to take under the terms of the settlement with the company.

Mr. Trump himself took to Twitter separately on Tuesday to say he was trying to get to the bottom of the matter.

“I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” the president said.

Both the White House and the National Rifle Association followed up later in the day by saying undetectable plastic guns are already illegal under a law originally passed in 1988.

“The administration supports this nearly two-decade old law,” said White House spokesman Hogan Gidley. “We will continue to look at all options available to us to do what is necessary to protect Americans while also supporting the First and Second amendments.”

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