Several states announced plans Monday to join a lawsuit seeking to force the US government to block the scheduled publication later this week of blueprints for 3-D printed guns.
“The federal government is trying to allow access to online plans that will allow anyone to anonymously build their own downloadable, untraceable, and undetectable gun,” said Maura Healey, attorney general of Massachusetts, one of 10 states to join the lawsuit.
Among the states taking part in the legal action are California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington.
“This is an imminent threat to public safety and violates the law. We have a responsibility to ensure that these files are not made easily available to the public,” Healey said.
#BREAKING We are suing the State Department to stop the illegal distribution of 3D-printed guns. This is an imminent threat to public safety and we have a responsibility to ensure these guns are never available online in any form. pic.twitter.com/91I1tk5zQW
— Maura Healey (@MassAGO) July 30, 2018
Twenty state attorneys general penned a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday, urging them to withdraw from a settlement between their respective departments that would allow blueprints for 3-D guns to be posted online by Texas-based pro-gun group Defense Distributed on Wednesday.
“As the chief law enforcement officers of our states, we believe the settlement terms and proposed rules are deeply dangerous and could have an unprecedented impact on public safety. In addition to helping arm terrorists and transnational criminals, the settlement and proposed rules would provide another path to gun ownership for people who are prohibited by federal and state law from possessing firearms,” the attorneys general wrote.
“Federal courts have recognized the danger of allowing these guns to be publicly available on the Internet, and this administration has abruptly disregarded those rulings.”
After Pennsylvania’s attorney general, Josh Shapiro, threatened Defense Distributed with legal action the company agreed to temporarily block Pennsylvania internet users from downloading the blueprints.
Tonight, I went to court to prohibit access to new 3D-printable guns in PA.
These downloadable firearms were just about to be widely available online. It's an existential threat to our state & we stepped in to stop it. The site is – & will remain – dark throughout PA. pic.twitter.com/A1siKeAf5a
— AG Josh Shapiro (@PAAttorneyGen) July 30, 2018
According to Shapiro’s office, more than 1,000 people have already downloaded the plans to 3-D print a semi-automatic assault rifle.
The fight against 3-D printed guns has gained traction in Congress as well. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) said he plans to introduce legislation co-sponsored by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) that would place a ban on 3-D printed guns.
“I think this is something which most people would recognize as danger, that you can publish blueprints online and have someone printing a gun who is ineligible, prohibited from having a firearm, maybe someone who has a criminal record, maybe someone who is not of proper age, and that they could somehow just make a gun using these blueprints,” Cicilline said in a radio interview Monday.
His bill will be introduced in the House of Representatives on Tuesday.