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Judge extends ban on publication of 3D-printed gun designs

It will remain until a lawsuit aimed at keeping the designs offline is resolved.

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A federal judge in Seattle issued an injunction today that blocks Defense Distributed from publishing its 3D-printed gun designs online. The move extends a temporary ban issued last month and the injunction will remain in place until a lawsuit brought forth by a number of state attorneys general is resolved. Washington, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Oregon, Maryland and Washington, DC signed onto the suit last month in an effort to reverse a US Department of State settlement that allowed the 3D gun designs to be published online. Eleven additional states joined the lawsuit earlier this month.

The fight to keep these sorts of gun designs off of the web has been going on for some time. Defense Distributed began publishing 3D-printed gun designs back in 2013, but was told to stop by the State Department for being in violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. In 2015, the company then took the matter to court but a Texas district court and a US Court of Appeals both sided with the State Department. However, in a surprising about-face, the US government settled with Defense Distributed earlier this year, agreeing to allow the designs back online.

The attorneys general announced their lawsuit just ahead of when Defense Distributed said it would begin publishing its designs again. Bills have also since been introduced in the House of Representatives and the Senate aimed at blocking the sales. US District Judge Robert Lasnik said in his ruling today that the plaintiffs' argument that the State Department didn't follow the correct procedure when making changes to the US Munitions List per its settlement with Defense Distributed has merit.

"Today's decision is an unqualified success for the American public and, indeed, the global community," Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign, said in a statement. "3D-printed guns represent a supreme threat to our safety and security, and we are grateful that Judge Lasnik recognized it as such."

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said, "Once again, I'm glad we put a stop to this dangerous policy. But I have to ask a simple question: why is the Trump administration working so hard to allow these untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns to be available to domestic abusers, felons and terrorists?"

A lawyer for Defense Distributed told Bloomberg that the firm is reviewing Judge Lasnik's decision and will consider its options going forward.

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