Prosecutors in 21 states have filed a lawsuit to challenge a new federal regulation that could allow the publication of schemes on the Internet to manufacture 3D printable weapons, as the battle over 3D printable weapons continues, and prosecutors are cooperating to renew the fighting and prosecute the administration of President Donald Trump in an attempt to prevent the Trump administration from facilitating access to the schemes.
3D printable weapons are also known as “ghost weapons” because they do not have registration numbers that can be used to track them, and opponents fear that if the plans are shared online, criminals who are not legally permitted to purchase firearms may obtain access to so-called ghost weapons.
100 thousand copies
The battle for 3D printable weapons began in 2013, when Texas-based Defense Distributed published plans for a 3D printable pistol, and more than 100,000 copies of the scheme were downloaded before the federal government intervened and said: The company violates international arms trafficking regulations.
Defense Distributed responded that it had the right to publish the diagrams online according to the first amendment, and the case remained ongoing for a few years between the Texas District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals, with both courts rejecting the Defense Distributed court order, and the Supreme Court (which refused to hear the case).
This could have been the end, but in 2018, during the administration of President Donald Trump, the US State Department and Defense Distributed reached a settlement, which allowed the company to continue sharing its firearms files.
But the debate was not over, as the states joined together to prosecute the Trump administration, arguing that the settlement violated the Administrative Procedures Law and the Tenth Amendment, and 3D printable weapons were subject to a temporary ban that was later extended.
Defense Distributed used a loophole to share plans with private clients, and in November a Seattle judge canceled the settlement between the company and the US State Department because it failed to provide an appropriate explanation and thus violated the Federal Administrative Procedures Act.
The Trump administration has finalized new laws that transfer the regulation of 3D printable weapons from the State Department to the Ministry of Commerce, and according to information, loopholes in trade regulations mean that the agency will lack the ability to regulate 3D printable weapons in any meaningful way, enabling Distributing them without borders, and prosecutors argue that the new rules are illegal.