Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson announced in a federal lawsuit that downloadable weapons are a serious national security threat that should have never been authorized by the U.S. State Department.
Could the legalization of distributing blueprints for 3D-printed weapons pose a public safety threat? Yesterday, the attorney general of Washington state, Bob Ferguson announced he was going sue the Trump Administration after a bizarre legal u-turn over 3D-printed guns came to a head. Following a four-year long legal battle with nonprofit Defense Distributed, last month the State Department decided to approve the public release of 3D-printing tutorials on how to make your very own untraceable and unregistered firearm.
But last Friday, days before Defense Distributed had agreed to make the files publicly available again, the Second Amendment — the right to keep and bear arms — fanatics flooded the Defense Distributed website with their designs. Purchased and assembled outside of any legal jurisdiction, it means anyone can follow the steps to create a firearm – regardless if guns are a threat to public security or not.
In a statement, Ferguson explained why he’s heading a 20-state initiative to see these files taken down and directly questioned the current administration’s ability to keep abreast of critical laws and protect public safety. “I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?” Ferguson said in the statement. “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. If the Trump Administration won’t keep us safe, we will.”
Based in Texas, Defense Distributed is the brain-child of gun rights activist and crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson. Wilson spent the past five years trying to argue that his 3D designs are mealy lines of code that shouldn’t be curtailed by censorship by blurring the lines between the right to share information and the right to bear arms. Wilson summed up his unique approach to civil liberties in a 2015 interview with Wired magazine. “If code is speech, the constitutional contradictions are evident,” he said in the interview. “So what if this code is a gun?”
According to Defense Distributed’s website, they’re on a crusade to bring online privacy to gun ownership: “In the same way people don’t want their phones read or their email read, people want rifle privacy”. They also describe their products as “edgy” and credit their popularity as a “response to the uncertain this political environment. People want at least one or two [guns] that nobody knows about, and we help them do that.”