President Trump on Tuesday voiced concern about 3D-printed guns being available to the public, saying he has talked to the National Rifle Association and it “doesn’t seem to make much sense.”
"I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!" he tweeted.
On Monday, eight states filed suit against the administration over its decision to allow Defense Distributed to publish downloadable blueprints for guns online. The suit argues that the weapons assist terrorists and criminals, and essentially nullify state gun control laws.
Separately, Democratic attorneys general in 21 states urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions to pull back from the settlement.
The founder of the Texas-based company first published designs for a 3D-printed gun in 2013, which was subsequently downloaded approximately 100,000 times until he was ordered to stop by the State Department. The June settlement allows the company to resume posting the blueprints.
The company meanwhile, filed its own suit on Sunday, claiming it is the victim of an "ideologically-fueled program of intimidation and harassment" that violates the company's First Amendment rights.
Founder Cody Wilson told The Washington Post that the controversy is not about gun regulation and safety risks: “It’s about access to information.”
According to the Post, the Trump administration rejected the First Amendment argument as early as April, noting that the files direct the functioning of a 3D printer and cause it to create firearms. But the settlement nevertheless allows the blueprints to be circulated.
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence slammed the move as “reckless and stupid.”
“During the Obama years, the government thought that 3D printed guns posed a serious threat to national security. I'm not aware of anything that has changed except who sits in the White House,” Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told Fox News in an emailed statement last month.
“Untraceable and undetectable guns that bypass our bipartisan background check system put us all at risk. The country deserves answers from the Trump Administration about why it thinks this is a good idea. Making it easier for dangerous people to get guns is reckless and stupid, and this is going to make Americans less safe."
Meanwhile, a State Department spokesperson said Tuesday that the department has "completed the actions that were required under the settlement agreement in the Defense Distributed litigation."
Trump’s tweet appears to complicate the matter somewhat, but Democrats didn’t seem appreciative of the support.
“Your administration approved this. What kind of incompetence and dangerous governing is this?” responded Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “And to check with the NRA? Holy moly.”
Fox News’ James Rogers and Rich Edson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.