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Jumping the gun: Trump says it's OK to distribute plans for 3D printed guns

Editorial Staff

The US courts are busy with state Attorneys General challenging US President Trump in many ways. Deleting the hyperbole, fixing the reversal of terminology and expunging the adjectives that turn so many of the important statements made by e.g. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra into tabloid-style and undermines their credibility, we've picked out the salient points of one of the most important challenges: 20 Attorneys General have obtained an interim injunction to block the Trump administration's decision that it's OK to publish the blueprints for the making of a working gun using a 3D printer.

It's not the first time that action has been taken to prevent the publication, particularly online, of detailed instructions on the production of guns which are, because they are manufactured in unlicensed premises by unauthorised producers, untraceable and, because they are free of metallic parts, largely invisible to most security scanners.

An agreement in a US Federal Court, the Department of Justice settled an action against a business called Defense (sic) Distributed. Although the agreement was reached in late June this year, it was not made public until late July.

However, a group of Attorneys General obtained an order that prevented the government from permitting Defense Distributed from publishing blueprints for such a weapon. That order was converted, on 28 August, into an injunction which remains in place during the currency of the litigation. The Action seeks permanent orders that prevent the US Government "from lifting export controls on downloadable blueprints for 3D-printable ..weapons. It will also prevent Defense Distributed from posting the blueprints online."

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