Washington lawmakers are not bereft of common sense. They think having 3-D printable guns is a bad idea. Us too.
Today, U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik extended a temporary restraining order (TRO) that blocks blueprints for 3-D printable guns from being posted online. At least until the ongoing legal dispute around the matter has been settled.
That dispute is just one of 32 (!) suits between Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the Trump administration. This one in particular blocks a motion that allows anyone to download online blueprints to 3-D printable guns. Several other states joined in.
Then, Lasnik ordered that nationwide temporary restraining order (TRO) to block the blueprints.
Believe it or not, this all started in 2013.
Cody Wilson, self-baptized as the “little anarchist in Austin,” completed designs for a completely 3-D printed gun. He uploaded them online for other people to use as a means to expand the right to bear arms in the 21st century. Because that's what was missing from the 21st century.
The federal government wasn’t too keen on what Wilson was doing and told him to take the plans down. Their reasoning was that the plans violated international arms treaties since they could theoretically be downloaded all over the world. In other words, a valid point.
Wilson said that posting these 3-D plans was protected speech under the First Amendment. Limiting him was a violation of his right to freedom of speech, he said. He sued the government in 2015.
After years of legal battles, the federal government for whatever reason settled with Wilson in June of 2018. He would be allowed to post his files. The world would be allowed to download them. He also got $40,000 from the federal government to cover his legal fees but that's beside the point.
Before Wilson could do that, he was sued by Washington state and several other states. The plans were never uploaded again. Now, they won’t be until the federal case is resolved.
“It is the untraceable and undetectable nature of these small firearms that poses a unique danger,” Lasnik said in the order today.
Printed firearms would be plastic. They would be unregistered and would not require background checks. Undetectable through metal detectors, the guns would be huge threats to national security. Think of what people could bring unnoticed on airplanes.
“Promising to detect the undetectable while at the same time removing a significant regulatory hurdle to the proliferation of these weapons—both domestically and internationally—rings hollow and in no way ameliorates, much less avoids, the harms that are likely to befall the States if an injunction is not issued,” Lasnik said.
It is the agreement of the court that the potential danger to the public these plans pose outweigh any threats to Wilson’s First Amendment rights.