The lawsuit challenges the outcome of another 2015 case that began in 2013 when Cody Wilson, the owner of Defense Distributed, was found to have violated a federal law known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations, after publishing downloadable plans for a 3D printed gun online.
A lawsuit filed Monday by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson is challenging the Trump administration’s decision to allow the release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns, saying the move would provide broad unregulated access to dangerous weapons.
Ferguson is the lead attorney general in the multistate lawsuit that was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. Ferguson’s lawsuit was joined by attorney generals in eight other states including New York, Oregon and the District of Columbia.
The lawsuit challenges the outcome of another 2015 case that began in 2013 when Cody Wilson, the owner of Defense Distributed, was found by the U.S. Department of State to have violated the federal International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) after publishing downloadable plans for 3D-printed guns online. The files were downloaded more than 100,000 times. Wilson was forced to take down the plans and challenged that decision, suing the federal government, according to The Washington Post.
The lawsuit was settled in June with the Trump administration, despite opposition from gun-control organizations such as the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, Everytown for Gun Safety and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, and Wilson was given permission to make his creations available publicly again. He intended to do so Wednesday. Ferguson’s lawsuit is seeking to get a federal judge to stop him.
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According to reporting from The Washington Post, Fred Guttenberg, whose 14-year-old daughter was one of the 17 victims killed at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, earlier this year, complained that federal lawmakers were “clueless” and unaware a settlement had been signed.
Guttenberg and others worry the lax access to guns is a public-safety issue and would mitigate current regulations, providing criminals and terrorists with “guns that can’t be flagged by metal detectors, don’t have serial numbers to trace and don’t require the usual background checks.”
The settlement agreement allowed Defense Distributed to freely publish their gun designs beginning Aug, 1, but according to a release from the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, the agreement, which wasn’t made public until July 10, was done “in an arbitrary and capricious” fashion by the Trump administration and violates the Administrative Procedure Act.
“There is no indication in the settlement agreement or elsewhere that any analysis, study or determination was made by the government defendants in consultation with other agencies,” says the release from the Attorney General’s Office.
The multistate lawsuit alleges that the settlement between Wilson, his company and the Trump administration did not get the approval of the Department of Defense, and didn’t give Congress 30 days notice before agreeing to allow Defense Distributed to begin publishing 3D-gun files, by creating a special exemption for Wilson’s company in the ITAR.
The lawsuit also says the settlement infringes on states’ rights to regulate firearms, therefore violating the Tenth Amendment.
Ferguson asked for a temporary restraining order to block Defense Distributed plans to begin publishing 3D-gun blueprints online Aug. 1.