Federal Judge blocks Trump Administration from allowing distribution of 3D gun blueprints

Digital rights groups argue that it's simply "code" and should be allowed.


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A federal judge has blocked The White House from allowing downloads of 3D printable gun blueprints. It all started when the State Department allowed a Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed to publish downloadable blueprints of several untraceable and undetectable firearms (mainly plastic firearms).

As Reuters reports, the US District Judge Robert Lasnick cited the State Department's prior stance concerning publishing such information online and how that could jeopardize the US foreign policy and potentially compromise world peace by enabling criminals as well as terrorists with sensitive information.

“Against these findings, the federal defendants offer nothing. Because the agency action was arbitrary and capricious, it is unlawful and must be set aside,” wrote Lasnick.

The US Department of Justice, which represented the agency, didn't respond to any request for comments; as of now, the State Department is reviewing the decision.

The lawyer representing Defense Distributed, Chad Flores said that they would appeal and that they deserved protection according to the “indirect censorship effects” of the States as stated by the US Constitution.

Flores further wrote that the “Appellate courts exist to rein in rogue decisions like this one.”

The lawsuit demanding to keep the blueprints offline was by 19 US states and Washington, D.C., led by mostly Democrats. New York, North Carolina, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey were a few of the most populous states to join the lawsuit.

While the states have called for a ban in order to “protect the public” and blocking access to criminals, several guns rights advocates argue that fears concerning the blueprints are blown out of proportion.

Bob Ferguson, Washington State's Attorney General said that President Donald Trump was well aware of the whole affair and that he tweeted about the public sale of 3-D guns one day after the lawsuit was filed. Trump also tweeted that the guns did not “seem to make much sense” after he spoke to the National Rifle Association. Ferguson also said that he was “thankful the court agrees.”

“It is baffling that the Trump administration continued to work so hard to allow domestic abusers, felons, and terrorists access to untraceable, undetectable 3-D-printed guns,” said Ferguson.

Digital rights group The EFF has said of 3D printed guns:

“EFF will continue to protect your freedom to teach one another new skills and share code with each other, so that others can learn and benefit from your ingenuity. We will continue to protect your freedom to advocate for ideas the government labels as dangerous. Not because we agree with every idea that’s out there, but because of the clear danger posed by a government that grants itself unbridled power to decide whose ideas are dangerous and what knowledge should be deleted from the Internet.”

Based on the response, the case will appear in Appellant Courts in the following months.

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Naga Pramod

Naga Pramod is a computer science major and tech news reporter with a passion for cyber security, networking, and data science. [email protected]
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