Federal Judge Blocks Release of 3D-Printed Gun Blueprints

SEATTLE (CN) – A federal judge in Seattle temporarily blocked the release of downloadable 3D-printed gun files on Tuesday, less than a day before they were to be released online.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik granted an emergency temporary restraining order preventing Defense Distributed from releasing the documents on its website, set to happen Aug. 1.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson brought a federal complaint Monday on behalf of 20 states over a settlement the gun-rights company reached with the U.S. government.

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson sued to publish the blueprints after he was forced to remove the posted designs in 2013 for violating federal laws.

The United States vigorously defended the suit until unexpectedly settling with Wilson on June 29, in an agreement allowing publication.

The coalition of states immediately sued to halt the settlement and requested a temporary restraining order to prevent the company from posting the designs.

“Prior to the June 29, 2018, agreement, the federal government had taken the position that restrictions on the export of technical data that is indispensable to the creation of guns and their components through a 3-D printing process was an essential part of its efforts to ensure that articles useful for warfare or terrorism do not proliferate and threaten United States interests and security,” Lasnik wrote.

“No findings of fact or other statements are provided in the agreement that could explain the federal government’s dramatic change of position or that alter its prior analysis regarding the likely impacts of publication on the United States’ national security interests,” the ruling states.

Lasnik said the states have shown a likelihood of irreparable injury if the downloadable files are posted.

“If an injunction is not issued and the status quo alters at midnight tonight, the proliferation of these will have many of the negative impacts on a state level that the federal government once feared on the international stage. Against this hardship is a delay in lifting regulatory restrictions to which Defense Distributed has been subject for over five years: the balance of hardships and the public interest tip sharply in plaintiffs’ favor,” he wrote.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled Aug. 10 in Seattle.

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