Home U.S. States Aim To Stop Internet Release Of 3D-Printed Gun Plans
States Aim To Stop Internet Release Of 3D-Printed Gun Plans

States Aim To Stop Internet Release Of 3D-Printed Gun Plans

0

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge in Seattle is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday on whether to block a settlement the U.S. State Department reached with a company that would allow it to post blueprints for printing 3D weapons on the internet.

The federal agency had tried to stop a Texas company from releasing the plans online, arguing it violated export regulations. But the agency reversed itself in April and entered an agreement with the company that would allow it to post the plans. The company is owned by a self-described “crypto-anarchist” who opposes restrictions on gun ownership.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia sued and last month secured a restraining order to stop that process, and now they want to make that permanent by having the judge convert the restraining order into an injunction. They fear the plans, if disseminated online, could be used by people who are not legally permitted to buy or possess guns. Critics add that because the weapons aren’t made of metal, they would be undetectable.

Cody Wilson, owner of Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, has said “governments should live in fear of their citizenry.” Wilson’s lawyers have said the safety risk from the 3D weapons claimed by the states is largely exaggerated because many of the files are already online.

The U.S. Justice Department argues that federal laws already prohibit the manufacture and possession of undetectable plastic guns, and they say the issues raised in this case are different. The State Department oversees regulations involving the export of certain weapons, not domestic laws, therefore the injunction is not necessary, the Justice Department said.

“The (State) Department is tasked with determining what technology and weaponry provides a critical military or intelligence advantage such that it should not be shipped without restriction from the United States to other countries (or otherwise provided to foreigners), where, beyond the reach of U.S. law, it could be used to threaten U.S. national security, foreign policy, or international peace and stability,” the Justice Department said in its brief.

By seeking an injunction, the lawyers said, the states misunderstand the limits on the State Department’s authority. “Domestic activities that do not involve providing access to foreign persons, by contrast, are left to other federal agencies_and the states_to regulate,” the justice department argues.

The states call this argument “semantic gymnastics” and say the government’s actions could cause “drastic, irreparable harm.”

“By authorizing the unrestricted spread on the internet of downloadable guns, so that any state resident or visitor could manufacture and possess weapons without the states’ knowledge or detection, the government undercuts the states’ abilities to enforce their statutory codes,” the lawyers argue. “The government’s deregulation violates the states’ border integrity by impeding their ability to prevent weapons from entering through airports.”

After the Justice Department filed its brief opposing the injunction, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a statement saying plastic weapons are already illegal and are a risk to public safety. “The Department of Justice will use every available tool to vigorously enforce this prohibition,” Sessions said.

The states suing are: Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, California, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia.

 

This article was written by Martha Bellisle from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Comments

comments

Online Degrees & Certificates In Cybersecurity

American Military University's online cybersecurity programs integrate multiple disciplines to ensure you gain the critical skills and management practices needed to effectively lead cybersecurity missions – from government or private industry. Learn from the leader. American Military University is part of American Public University System, which has been designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.