US judge blocks release of 3D-printed gun plans to the public

Latest News

FILE PHOTO: This Aug. 4, 2016, photo, provided by the Transportation Security Administration shows the plastic replica revolver TSA agents recovered from a passenger’s carry-on bag at Reno-Tahoe International Airport in a bowl used at the security checkpoint in Reno, Nev. The man agreed to leave the prohibited, fake firearm made from a 3D printer behind and was allowed to board the plane without incident. (Transportation Security Administration via AP)

The blueprint for a 3D-printed plastic gun will stay offline for the time being. A federal judge has stepped in, issuing a temporary restraining order.

U.S. President Donald Trump (usually a gun advocate) has expressed concern, but people have already downloaded the files and are making the guns.

CGTN’s Nathan King filed this report.

The courts have stepped in, but already it’s too late. People are already printing 3D guns. The files have reportedly been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Cody Wilson, the founder of the nonprofit organization Defense Distributed, said he’s already uploaded the files to the Internet for a single-shot, 3D gun that Wilson calls the ‘Liberator’.

FILE PHOTO: In this photo taken on July 11, 2013, software engineer Travis Lerol takes aim with an unloaded Liberator handgun in the backyard of his home in Hanover, Maryland. The Liberator is the first gun that can be made entirely with parts from a 3D printer and computer-aided design (CAD) files downloaded from the Internet. (AFP PHOTO / Robert MACPHERSON)

“I already uploaded the plans. The ship has sailed,” he said. “It’s public domain information now. It’s irrevocable. No one can take it back.”

These 3D firearms are called “Ghost Guns.” They have no serial numbers, making them untraceable. They’re made of plastic, so they won’t set off metal detectors.

The Obama administration blocked Wilson’s previous attempts to publish, but this was reversed under the Trump administration. On Monday, eight U.S. states and the District of Colombia sued the Trump administration, in an effort to block the publication.

Wilson said he won’t upload any more files for now, but those campaigning against gun violence are horrified.

“Coming to a theater near you, coming to a theater near you, coming to a school near you, coming to a sports stadium, to any public place. These ghost guns are the new wave of American gun violence,” Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said. 

Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., display a photo of a plastic gun on Tuesday, July 31, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Democrats are calling on President Donald Trump to reverse an administration decision to allow a Texas company to make blueprints for a 3D-printed gun available online. (AP Photo/Matthew Daly)

President Trump tweeted that he had already spoken to the U.S. gun lobby, the National Rifle Association (NRA), on the issue and hinted that printable guns could face restrictions. However, existing law makes them illegal already.

The Federal Undetectable Firearms Act makes it illegal to manufacture or possess a weapon undetectable by a walk-through metal detector. The vast majority of gun rights advocates overwhelmingly believe that gun sales should be regulated, firearms should be traceable and background checks should be carried out.

The 3D gun means criminals and terrorists could get guns far more easily. Many have said the fault lies with the U.S. President.

“This is the doing of the Trump administration,” Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer said. “This is part of a long pattern of letting the gun lobby get whatever they want even if safety is at risk, even if terrorists could gain the upper hand. He complains about terrorists crossing the border. But he wants to let them have guns undetected. What kind of hypocrisy is this?”

The debate continues to rage on in the U.S. with a new twist. Does the right to bear arms also mean a right to print your own gun at home? Only time will tell.