Blueprints for 3D-printed guns can be downloaded next month following a landmark Department of Justice settlement with Second Amendment advocates.
Defense Distributed, a non-profit defense firm, will offer the blueprints for download starting Aug. 1 following a multi-year legal battle with the federal government.
“It’s personally satisfying,” Defense Distributed director Cody Wilson told Fox News, adding America’s gun culture has been “guaranteed safe passage” into the modern era.
Defense Distributed and the Second Amendment Foundation were co-plaintiffs in a 2015 lawsuit against the government, which had forced Wilson’s firm to take blueprints for the “Liberator” 3D-printed gun off its website. More than 100,000 copies of the controversial blueprint were downloaded before the government’s clampdown.
The settlement paves the way for Defense Distributed to again offer the Liberator files, and others for 3D-printed guns, on its website. “Under terms of the settlement, the government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue,” explained the Second Amendment Foundation in a statement released July 10.
SAF Founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb heralded the settlement as a victory for free speech, and “a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby.”
The organizations had filed their suit against the State Department under the Obama administration. In May 2013, the government had cited International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) when clamping down on Defense Distributed. In its statement SAF described ITAR is a Cold War-era law designed to control export of military items.
The settlement has sparked anger from gun control advocates. “We’re extremely concerned about a sudden settlement by the DOJ allowing blueprints for 3-D printed guns to be posted online, and we’re looking forward to learning through our FOIA request exactly how this came to be,” tweeted the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence on July 13.
The Brady Campaign filed its Freedom of Information Act request on Jul. 12.
“During the Obama years, the government thought that 3D printed guns posed a serious threat to national security. I’m not aware of anything that has changed except who sits in the White House,” Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, told Fox News in an emailed statement. “Untraceable and undetectable guns that bypass our bipartisan background check system put us all at risk. The country deserves answers from the Trump Administration about why it thinks this is a good idea. Making it easier for dangerous people to get guns is reckless and stupid, and this is going to make Americans less safe.”
Advocates for gun control have argued that 3D-printed guns could also pose security challenges as they pass through airport X-ray machines.
Wilson, who describes current 3D-printed guns as “mostly curiosities,” said that the “big” and “bulky” characteristics of the weapons would help identify them. “I doubt seriously that it’s a real problem,” he added. “If it is a problem, then the [security] norms will have to change.”
Fox News’ Perry Chiaramonte contributed to this article.
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