Harvard Law Professor: First Amendment Protects 3D Gun Files

17 2013 a Liberator pistol appears next to the 3D printer on which its components were made in Hanover Maryland

A federal judge temporarily blocked the release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns on Tuesday, only a day before they were supposed to be made public.

It happened after Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik agreed to issue a temporary restraining order against Defense Distributed, which resumed downloads over the weekend following the settlement in late June with the federal government of a 2015 lawsuit. They now have their sights set on the First Amendment as well, arguing that the mere knowledge of how guns work should also be banned by the federal government. The Trump administration reversed course, agreeing to allow Defense Distributed to publish the tutorials online.

The arguments began in 2013 when self-styled crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson showed off the world's first 3D-printed gun. "These ghost guns are a new wave of American gun violence".

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Defense Distributed's files include 3D printable blueprints for components that would go into the making of a version of the AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifle, a weapon that has been used in many U.S. mass shootings. They said the Trump administration had failed to explain why it settled the case and that its decision violated their ability to regulate firearms and keep citizens safe. A lawyer for the company said he didn't know how many blueprints had been downloaded since then. All a person needs is a blueprint for the gun, which are readily available online for free, the plastic materials to make the gun, and a 3D printer to put the contraption together.

3D-printed guns have made headlines this week and there are many questions about the plastic, homemade firearms. On the group's Web site, downloads are now available for a plastic handgun called the Liberator, as well as part of an AR-15, and a Beretta M-9 handgun. The guns, if allowed, would be untraceable without a serial number and would be able to pass through metal detectors without setting off alarms.

Chris Cox, executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, said in a statement that many have "wrongly claimed" that 3-D printing will lead to the production and "widespread proliferation" of plastic, undetectable guns. The move comes after President Trump tweeted that making the guns available to the public "doesn't seem to make much sense." .

At a news conference on Tuesday, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal said that if President Trump did not block sale, blood was "going to be on his hands". He said releasing the blueprints would cause "a likelihood of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made". "The administration supports this almost two-decade-old law, and 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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