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States are suing the US government over 3D-printed gun blueprints

January 24, 2020
A man holding up a 3D printed gun
A man holding up a 3D printed gunAssociated Press

The news: A group of 20 states, led by Washington, are suing the federal government over rules that could allow the sharing of 3D-printed gun blueprints online. The lawsuit was filed in a US District Court in Seattle yesterday, with California and New York among the states signing up.

The details: The federal government is looking to change the law to allow 3D-printed gun blueprints to be shared on the internet. Yesterday, the Trump administration published rules that would transfer oversight for the export of certain firearms from the State Department to the Commerce Department, claiming it would promote exports and reduce the regulatory burden on gun makers. Critics fear it will lead to an escalation of gun violence. The lawsuit states that deregulation will “make it far easier for individuals ineligible to possess firearms under state or federal law to obtain a deadly weapon without undergoing a background check,” according to the AP.

The background: This fight has been rumbling for a long time. Back in 2013, a pro-gun activist group called Defense Distributed posted blueprints for a 3D-printed gun online. It was ordered to take them down by the Obama administration, but it fought back, claiming in a lawsuit against the government that it had a First Amendment right to share the files. It lost. But in June 2018, the Trump administration granted the company permission to post the blueprints online. Last year a federal judge struck this attempt down. Now the Trump administration is trying to allow the sharing of 3D-printed gun blueprints yet again.

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