White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed on Wednesday that President Trump supports bans against 3D-printed plastic guns.
As Reason's Brian Doherty previously reported, Defense Distributed is "a collective that organizes, promotes, and distributes technologies to help home gun-makers." In early July, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reached a settlement with Defense Distributed in a long-running lawsuit based on government officials maintaining that the sharing of the gun-making files violated munitions export rules located in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Defense Distributed argued that the legal fight was a First Amendment issue, since what they wanted to distribute were computer software information already widely distributed in the public domain, not actual munitions.
On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik ruled in favor of eight states that sued in opposition of the federal government's settlement with Defense Distributed. Lasnik issued a temporary restraining order against the website's ability to distribute the files on the basis of that states' "clear and reasonable fear that the proliferation of untraceable, undetectable weapons will enable convicted felons, domestic abusers, the mentally ill, and others who should not have access to firearms to acquire and use them."
During a Wednesday press conference, Sanders answered a question about the president's support of 3D printed plastic guns by saying that the DOJ made a deal without Trump's approval. Still, Trump approved of the 1988 legislation that banned such devices if they are untraceable by metal detectors.
"This administration supports the decades-old legislation already on the books that prohibit the wholly ownership of a plastic gun," she told reporters.
Trump previously tweeted that 3D printed plastic guns didn't "make much sense."
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
Following the court's Tuesday decision, Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson announced that his website, DEFCAD.com, would go dark in compliance. Wilson removed the plans from the internet. Since that time, a mirror site from called CodeIsFreeSpeech.com appeared. Considering that the advocacy groups behind the new site were not listed as defendants in the suit, they are free from the ruling.
Bonus link: Watch Reason's February interview with Cody Wilson here.
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