Amid the row over the release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns, a coalition of gun rights activists has posted plans for 3D-printed weapons online, citing the First Amendment.
A federal judge on Tuesday stopped the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns. President Donald Trump also questioned whether his administration should have agreed to allow the plans to be posted online.
Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, a non-profit defense firm, was behind the plans. In June Defense Distributed reached a settlement with the federal government allowing it to make the plans for the guns available for download on Wednesday.
However, the restraining order from U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle puts that plan on hold for now. "There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made," he said.
Nonetheless, plans for a number weapons have appeared on CodeIsFreeSpeech.com, which describes itself as “a publicly-available website for truthful, non-misleading, non-commercial speech and information that is protected under the United States Constitution.”
“The purpose of this project is to allow people to share knowledge and empower them to exercise their fundamental, individual rights,” it added.
The Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, the Calguns Foundation and the California Association of Federal Firearms Licensees are involved in the project, according to the website. “A number of individuals who are passionate about the Constitution and individual liberties,” are also involved, it says.
Gun control advocates welcomed the federal court’s temporary restraining order against Defense Distribution. The move “will protect lives across the world,” tweeted the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
The Firearms Policy Coalition, however, slammed the restraining order.
Advocates for gun control have argued that 3D-printed guns could also pose security challenges as they pass through airport X-ray machines.
In a recent interview with Fox News, Defense Distributed director Cody Wilson described current 3D-printed guns as “mostly curiosities,” and said that the “big” and “bulky” characteristics of the weapons would help identify them. “I doubt seriously that it’s a real problem,” he added. “If it is a problem, then the [security] norms will have to change.”
People can use the blueprints to manufacture plastic guns using a 3D printer. But industry experts have expressed doubts that criminals would go to the trouble, since the printers needed to make the guns can cost thousands of dollars, the guns themselves tend to disintegrate quickly and traditional firearms are easy to come by.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
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