Here’s a look at the debate over 3-D printed guns.

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It’s made out of plastic, can take only a few hours to produce and fires bullets just like a metal gun.

In recent years, with the emergence of new technology, questions over whether people should be able to access blueprints that show how to make a firearm using a 3-D printer have become a part of the increasingly polarized gun debate. Opponents argue that it will open the door for criminals to easily access untraceable firearms, while supporters say that efforts to prevent the practice are useless and that there are already enough gun laws on the books.

In June, a Trump administration settlement gave the green light to a Texas-based company to post blueprints online showing people how to make 3-D printed guns from the comfort of their home — a swift move that reversed course from the previous administration. The company, Defense Distributed, said it would put its plans online beginning Aug. 1.

On Tuesday, as backlash intensified ahead of the date, President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he was “looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public” and that he would consult the National Rifle Association.

Here’s a look at the debate over 3-D printed guns:

Q: What is a 3-D-printed gun and how is it created?

A: The firearms are usually made out of ABS plastic — the stuff that Lego pieces are made of — and are created using special printers that can cost thousands of dollars. Unlike metal firearms that have magazines that can usually hold several bullets, 3-D guns can hold a bullet or two and then must be manually reloaded. There is no mandate for licensing 3-D guns and they can be created without a serial number, making them untraceable by law enforcement.

Q: How did the debate over 3-D-printed guns begin?

A: In 2013, Cody Wilson, who owns Defense Distributed, posted plans online for creating a 3-D-printed handgun he called the Liberator. The blueprints were downloaded nearly 100,000 times in one week before the State Department under President Barack Obama ordered it be taken down, arguing it violated federal export laws since some of the blueprints were downloaded by people outside the United States. It would be a violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations that limit when and how Americans can sell weapons overseas, the government argued.

Wilson’s website also sought to offer blueprints for creating AR-style long guns with 3-D printers.

For several years, Wilson has been engaged in a legal battle with the State Department, saying its decision violated his First Amendment right to free speech.

In June, the Trump State Department reversed course and gave the go-ahead to Wilson and his company to post the blueprints online.

Wilson lauded the decision on Twitter and his website noted it that he would begin posting blueprints online Aug. 1. The government also agreed to pay nearly $40,000 in legal fees that Wilson has accrued over the years.

“It’s personally satisfying,” Wilson told Fox News recently, adding that U.S. gun culture has been “guaranteed safe passage” into the modern era.

Q: What has been the response from gun control advocates and politicians?

A: There’s been strong pushback.

On Monday, attorneys general from eight states — all Democrats — filed a joint lawsuit in federal court in Seattle calling on the Trump administration to stop the plans from being posted and seeking a nationwide temporary restraining order.

“What kind of world are we living in where a criminal, terrorist, or anybody with access to the internet and a 3-D printer can build a gun?” Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum said in a statement.

“Once these tutorials to build 3-D guns are unblocked, there is no turning back. This action has been taken in utter disregard for public safety and I will not stand for it,” Rosenblum said.

In addition, nearly two dozen state attorneys general wrote a letter urging U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo to immediately withdraw from the settlement because of the “reckless disregard to public safety that 3-D guns creates.”

These views were echoed by gun control groups like the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and Everytown for Gun Safety.

“We will do everything in our power to make sure that untraceable downloadable guns remain nothing more than an idea. To those who want to see this dangerous concept become reality, all we have to say is this: Not on our watch,” said Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign.

Many opponents have referred to 3-D-printed guns as “ghost guns” because they lack serial numbers and owners do not need licenses. Further, concerns have been raised that these firearms could get onto planes because the 3-D guns are not metal and could go undetected.

Q: What has the Trump administration said?

A: Not much. The decision to settle with Wilson’s company became public last week.

But as lawsuits from several states have surfaced in recent days, Trump took to Twitter — as is often the case — on Tuesday offering this: “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

Dana Loesch, a spokeswoman for the NRA, said in a video posted on last week that 3-D-printed guns symbolize “freedom and innovation,” adding that there are already laws that unsuccessfully try to stop criminals from getting guns.