WASHINGTON – A US federal judge blocked on Tuesday the publication of manuals for the 3D printing of weapons just hours before their scheduled online distribution by a Texas group that had reached an agreement with the Donald Trump administration to do so.
In his ruling, Judge Robert S. Lasnik, who presides over a court in Washington state, said that the publication of the manuals by Texas-based Defense Distributed creates “the probability of irreparable harm.”
His decision responds to a motion filed by prosecutors of several states in the face of the imminent online publication – slated for Aug. 1 – by Defense Distributed of the manuals for 3D printing of pistols and AR-15 assault rifles on its Web site.
Earlier on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said that the 3D printing of plastic guns “doesn’t seem to make much sense” after his administration reached a legal agreement with Defense Distributed, the group promoting this activity.
“I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” said Trump in a Twitter post, referring to the National Rifle Association, the powerful US pro-gun organization and lobbying group.
Defense Distributed reached a settlement to publish the manuals with the federal government in June.
The agreement was the conclusion of a five-year legal battle in which the 2009-2017 government of former President Barack Obama argued before two federal judges, but the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, that the downloadable manuals for how to print plastic weapons violated firearms export laws.
However, in a sudden decision, the Trump administration reached an agreement in June with Defense Distributed to allow the group to once again provide the instruction manuals for printing 3D weapons on the Internet starting on Aug. 1.
In addition, the agreement established that the manuals are approved for publication in any form and that the US government will pay $40,000 to cover the legal fees incurred by Cody Wilson, the founder of the group and the individual at the center of the controversy.
On Monday, eight states and Washington DC filed suit to fight the settlement between the US government and Defense Distributed arguing that providing the downloadable plans online will allow criminals to acquire weapons without going through the standard sales, registration and background check procedures.