Editor’s note: On Tuesday night, a federal judge in Seattle granted a temporary nationwide injunction blocking Defense Distributed from making the plans for plastic guns available online.
Beginning Wednesday (Aug. 1), it will be legal for Americans to manufacture their own plastic guns at home using a 3-D printer. The go-ahead to print the weapons — which are untraceable, undetectable by traditional screening methods and unregistered — was granted by the Justice Department last month after a years-long battle with Defense Distributed, which sued the government in 2015 on grounds that blocking the company from sharing the code was a violation of its First Amendment protections.
With the deadline looming, a number of prominent artists, politicians and gun control activists have spoken out about the issue, including Paramore‘s Hayley Williams, who urged fans to sign a petition from the Everytown for Gun Safety organization imploring the Trump administration to reverse what it calls a “reckless and dangerous mistake by allowing anyone — including terrorists and people who can’t pass background checks — to download and print untraceable guns on demand.”
Williams asked her more than 5.2 million followers to sign the petition, writing, “On the internet for a sec to signal boost this petition that some of my friends & I signed today. no matter your political stance, please consider that this would be a giant step in the wrong direction. a frightful one.”
on the internet for a sec to signal boost this petition that some of my friends & i signed today. no matter your political stance, please consider that this would be a giant step in the wrong direction. a frightful one. please read and sign to #stopdownloadableguns. https://t.co/be3iWjUB1F
— hayley from Paramore (@yelyahwilliams) July 31, 2018
The Everytown petition asks people to email Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to stop the special exemption granted to Texas-based Defense Distributed, which it says is run by a “self-proclaimed anarchist.” Click here to see or sign the petition.
At press time, eight states had filed suit against the Trump administration over the decision, asking a judge to block the government’s late-June settlement with DD; officials said that 1,000 people had already downloaded blueprints for AR-15 rifles, the kind of high-capacity military-style rifle used in a number of mass shootings, including the Parkland, Fla., school assault and last year’s Route 91 Harvest Festival massacre, the latter of which is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?” Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson, a Democrat, said in a statement Monday (July 30) according to the Associated Press. “These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history.”
Democratic attorneys general in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia are leading the action against Justice Department’s ruling, with attorneys general in 21 additional states urging Sec. Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday (July 30) to withdraw from the settlement, saying it “creates an imminent risk to public safety.” Gun industry experts have countered that criminals are unlikely to go to the trouble of printing 3-D plastic guns because of the the ready availability of traditional firearms, and the expense involved in 3-D printing as well as the tendency for the weapons to disintegrate quickly.
When DD founder Cody Wilson first published the downloadable designs for a 3-D printed gun in 2013, it was downloaded around 100,000 times before the Obama State Department ordered him to stop, citing a violation of federal export laws. The blueprints were re-published four days early on Friday (July 27) and DD filed a lawsuit in Texas on Sunday (July 29), claiming that Wilson is a victim of an “ideologically-fueled program of intimidation and harassment” that violates DD’s First Amendment rights.
Check out some of the other tweets about the downloadable gun controversy.
My latest Op ED for CNN:
— Alyssa Milano (@Alyssa_Milano) July 30, 2018
Starting tomorrow, the Trump administration is going to allow people to start posting blueprints online showing how to make a fully functioning 3D-printed gun at home. We can’t let that happen. I am filing legislation today to block the release of these plans.
— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) July 31, 2018
Hope y’all are ready to get searched considering 3-D printed guns cannot be detected by a metal detector.
The real question is how many terrorist attacks are going to happen with 3D printed guns until congress realizes their mistake. #Stop3DPrintedGuns
— David Hogg (@davidhogg111) July 28, 2018
.@fred_guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed at Stoneman Douglas HS, is deeply concerned about 3D-printed plastic guns. Will Republicans have the courage to take action now before these guns flood the market? pic.twitter.com/WTNHG8WaX9
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) July 31, 2018
Please read this piece about 3D printers making guns. This is happening on Monday. https://t.co/fXE1gJY3F3
— Chelsea Handler (@chelseahandler) July 28, 2018
The Trump administration’s decision to allow designs for a 3D printed gun to be distributed freely online is baffling and a complete about-face. It will allow terrorists and criminals to easily get their hands on guns. https://t.co/XnZ6S0kKHA
— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) July 25, 2018
The Trump Administration made a dangerous decision to allow 3D-printed guns to be downloaded and made at home. States are rightly concerned for the safety of their local communities. Read a letter sent today by 21 attorneys general to @SecPompeo and Jeff Sessions: pic.twitter.com/ZGAGzmc5Yr
— Giffords (@GiffordsCourage) July 30, 2018
Pres. Trump tweeted on Tuesday (July 31) that he is “looking into” the situation, adding that he’d already spoke to the gun lobbyists at the National Rifle Association about it.
I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018