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Judge in Seattle halts release of 3D-printed gun blueprints

The 3D-printed gun, the liberator
Flickr Photo/Mirko Tobias Schäfer (CC BY 2.0)/
A 3D-printed gun.

Sorry, no 3D-printable gun for you, at least not yet.

A federal judge ruled Tuesday in Seattle that a Texas company can’t release blueprints for the plastic guns on the internet for now.

Washington and several other states argued that the guns could be built and distributed without serial numbers, making them impossible to trace. The states also said the guns are hard to detect, making them especially dangerous in the hands of terrorists. (Read the states' full complaint here.)

"Why would you allow guns to be out there that can't be detected? It just doesn't make any sense," said Jeff Rupert, who argued the case for the state Attorney General's Office.

Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary restraining order and set another hearing for Aug. 10 in Seattle.

The case pits the states against the company, Defense Distributed, the Trump administration and the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation.

In June, the government settled a years-long case with the company over the blueprints and said the company could resume posting the plans Aug. 1.

The states then sued. Legal arguments in their lawsuit center around whether or not 3D guns are (or should be) on the United States Munitions List and subject to international arms regulations.

A lawyer for the Justice Department argued that the government couldn’t use those rules to prevent Defense Distributed from disseminating gun data within the United States.

And the defense argued that, well, the cat is out of the bag -- printable gun plans were released in 2013 and downloaded thousands of times before the State Department intervened.

In the hearing Tuesday, Lasnik pointed out that it’s funny how anarchists and the government are aligned sometimes. A lawyer for the defendants, participating by phone, chuckled loudly at that.

The administration’s deal with Defense Distributed has faced criticism from Democrats and even Republicans.

And this morning, President Donald Trump tweeted: “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

Here's the NRA's semi-cryptic response.

Stay tuned for more from court.

Produced for the web by Gil Aegerter.