Multistate Coalition Sues Trump Administration over Efforts to Allow Release of Files for 3D-Printed Guns

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Defense Distributor Founder Cody Wilson firing 3D printed gun
Defense Distributor Founder Cody Wilson test firing a 3D printed gun

A coalition of Attorneys General from 21 States filed a lawsuit challenging the Trump Administration’s latest effort to loosen regulations governing blueprints for 3D printed guns, which are untraceable and undetectable.

The Trump Administration released a new rule that would open the door to the release of files computer aided design (CAD) files for 3D-printed guns. The new rule would transfer the regulatory control of most downloadable gun files from the U.S. Department of State to the Department of Commerce.

The coalition considers the move attempt to circumvent the existing Congressional oversight of the online distribution of blueprints for untraceable and undetectable firearms also known as ghost guns.

The new rule would create a new loophole that would allow anyone to access the files online and make untraceable and undetectable firearms including AR-15 rifles.

 Trump Administration’s new rule is unlawful and dangerous

In the multistate lawsuit, the AGs argued that the new rule is unlawful and “far-reaching implications for national security” and States’ public safety.”

It undermines the State’s firearms laws that keep guns out of the hands of individuals convicted of violent crimes, the mentally ill and persons subject to various protections and no-contact orders. It also weakens States’ laws that require background checks on individuals purchasing/transferring guns through dealers, gun shows or online.

The coalition asserted that the new rule violate the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) since the new rule is “an abuse of discretion, arbitrary and capricious.”  The AGs stressed that the Trump Administration “failed to consider relevant evidence or articulate a satisfactory explanation for its action” of reversing its position regarding the files for 3D printed guns.

In July 2018, a multistate coalition filed a lawsuit to stop the release of the CAD files for 3D-printed guns. In November last year, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issued a temporary restraining order stopping it. He ruled that the proliferation of 3D printed guns will have “many negative impacts,” saying that these untraceable weapons could end up in the wrong hands.

“A reckless attempt” to loosen regulations on 3D-printed guns

In a statement, New York AG Letitia James, said, “Ghost Guns endanger every single one of us… While the president and his Administration know these homemade weapons pose an imminent threat, he continues to cater to the gun lobby — risking the lives of millions of Americans. We’re filing this lawsuit to stop the Trump Administration from further facilitating the spread of gun violence at our schools, our offices, and our places of worship.”

California AG Xavier Becerra, commented, “Loosening the rules on 3D-printed firearms puts lives at risk. The Trump Administration should focus on reducing violence, not making it easier for criminals to get their hands on untraceable and undetectable ghost guns. We successfully challenged the Trump Administration’s first reckless attempt, and we will continue to fight against this latest attack on the safety of our communities.”