ST. GEORGE – A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday blocking the online release of blueprints that would allow anyone to create a 3D-printed gun. However, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes and Sen. Mike Lee have been criticized by a Utah group for their failure to join other states in taking action against the release.
The plans to release the blueprints came from Texas-based Defense Distributed following a settlement in June with the federal government that would allow the company to release them online Wednesday. However, concerns from the attorneys general of eight states and the District of Columbia that the 3D-printed guns are a public safety risk resulted in the release of the blueprints being halted for the time being.
“There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made,” said Seattle-based U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik, who issued the order.
Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson called the ruling “a complete, total victory.”
Ferguson was one of the eight Democrat attorneys general who filed suit for the temporary restraining order.
The pending release of the blueprints to the public has also apparently drawn concern from President Donald Trump, who tweeted Tuesday that he is looking in the issue and that “it doesn’t seem to make 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
Washington state Assistant Attorney General Jeff Rupert told Lasnik it wasn’t often that he agreed with Trump, “but when he tweeted ‘this doesn’t make much sense,’ that’s something we agree with.”
Overall, 21 states have petitioned the the federal government not to allow the release of the blueprints. However, Utah was not among them.
Alliance for a Better Utah, a political watchdog group, issued a statement Tuesday blasting Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes for not joining the fight to keep the plastic gun blueprints out of public hands.
Sen. Mike Lee also came into the crosshairs of the group for blocking the advancement of proposed legislation in the Senate that would ban blueprints for 3D-printed firearms.
Chase Thomas, policy and advocacy counsel with Alliance for a Better Utah, stated:
In an era of mass shootings, it shouldn’t be any easier for criminals to get their hands on dangerous firearms. Like many Utahns, we were extremely concerned that 3D blueprints for the manufacturing of handguns, semi-automatic rifles, and magazines were made available on the internet for download.
The obstruction by Senator Lee to block legislation that would ban such blueprints is incomprehensible. And the silence from Sean Reyes’ office is deafening. We deserve elected officials who are front and center in protecting Utahns, not officials standing in the way or nowhere to be found.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Lee argued that the legislation to ban the blueprints violated constitutional free-speech protections.
The National Rifle Association, whom Trump tweeted he had spoken to about the potential release of the blueprints, also issued a statement Tuesday noting that plastic guns were already illegal in the United States.
“Many anti-gun politicians and members of the media have wrongly claimed that 3-D printing technology will allow for the production and widespread proliferation of undetectable plastic firearms,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action.
“Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years,” Cox said. “Federal law passed in 1988, crafted with the NRA’s support, makes it unlawful to manufacture, import, sell, ship, deliver, possess, transfer, or receive an undetectable firearm.”
The Associated Press contributed to the story.
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