Government approves 3D printed gun blueprints, available August 1st

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It is a landmark ruling and it complicates the gun debate.

On August 1, 2018, anyone will be able to buy or distribute a do-it-yourself gun blueprint online. Those files can then be used to create a 3D printed gun.

Supporters of the ruling say it is a victory for the First and Second Amendment. Opponents of the ruling say they are concerned these unregulated firearms could get into the wrong hands.

Anne Lawton is the President of the Las Vegas Chapter of the Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence. She said, “If you have a 3D printer or have access to a 3D printer, it would allow you to make your own untraceable gun.”

With the right materials, it could be printed into a functioning gun, made almost entirely from plastic.

The Ghost Gunner online, boasts you can “legally manufacture unserialized rifles and pistols in the comfort and privacy of home.”

Lawton said that means, “Anybody can have a gun, no questions asked.”

Lawton said the majority of Nevadans voted to expand background checks. She believes this will negate that.

“Even if universal background checks do get passed on a state level, much less a national level, this would allow people to totally circumvent that," she said.

That, however, is not the only issue at stake.

Five-years-ago, the State Department shut down the website Defense Distributed saying the company was violating international export laws by offering 3D printing blueprints for guns.

The company’s founder sued saying the blueprints are computer code and therefore protected under the First Amendment.

After years of litigation, the State Department settled.

The Second Amendment Foundation which was part of the suit released the following:

Under terms of the settlement, the government has agreed to waive its prior restraint against the plaintiffs, allowing them to freely publish the 3-D files and other information at issue. The government has also agreed to pay a significant portion of the plaintiffs’ attorney’s fees and to return $10,000 in State Department registration dues paid by Defense Distributed as a result of the prior restraint.

Significantly, the government expressly acknowledges that non-automatic firearms up to .50-caliber, including modern semi-auto sporting rifles such as the popular AR-15 and similar firearms – are not inherently military.

“Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby,” noted SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “For years, anti-gunners have contended that modern semi-automatic sport-utility rifles are so-called ‘weapons of war,’ and with this settlement, the government has acknowledged they are nothing of the sort.

“Under this settlement,” he continued, “the government will draft and pursue regulatory amendments that eliminate ITAR control over the technical information at the center of this case. They will transfer export jurisdiction to the Commerce Department, which does not impose prior restraint on public speech. That will allow Defense Distributed and SAF to publish information about 3-D technology.”

The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence released this statement to News3:

“When a legal case has been going on for years, and the side that’s been consistently winning suddenly decides to settle and give the defendant everything they could have possibly wanted, it’s going to raise a lot of questions. We are deeply concerned about this decision and the danger it poses to innocent Americans. The Trump administration is opening the door wide open to unmarked and untraceable guns to end up in dangerous hands, and it is simply unfathomable that they would allow this to happen.”
The Brady Campaign To Prevent Gun Violence has also filed a Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents related to the settlement.
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