A U.S. judge extended a ban on publishing blueprints for 3-D printed guns online, handing a procedural victory to states and gun-control groups that argue the practice will make it easy for criminals and terrorists to get their hands on untraceable firearms.
The injunction against Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed was issued Monday by U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle, where 19 states and Washington, D.C., sued to block it from making technical plans for an array of guns available globally on the internet with the government’s blessing. The injunction will remain in place until the suit is resolved.
Josh Blackman, a lawyer for Defense Distributed, said the company is reviewing the decision.
The 3-D printing of guns gained urgency after Defense Distributed reached a surprise settlement with President Donald Trump’s administration resolving a 2015 government challenge. Former President Barack Obama’s administration had sued the firm on national security grounds.
Trump said in July that allowing unfettered public access to instructions for making guns with 3-D printers doesn’t “seem to make much sense” but hasn’t fought to stop it.
In Monday’s ruling, Lasnik criticized the government’s argument that the states won’t be harmed by publication of the blueprints because the federal government is committed to battling undetectable firearms. “It is the untraceable and undetectable nature of these small firearms that poses a unique danger,” Lasnik said. “Promising to detect the undetectable while at the same time removing a significant regulatory hurdle to the proliferation of these weapons — both domestically and internationally — rings hollow.”