• Wednesday, September 19, 2018
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Hawaii News| Newswatch

Hawaii among 19 states opposing online plans for 3D-printed guns

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Sen. Edward Markey, D-Mass., left, and Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Ct., display a photo of a plastic gun, July 31, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

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SEATTLE >> More states are suing the Trump administration to dissolve a settlement it reached with a company that wants to post instructions online for making 3D-printed firearms that are hard to trace and detect.

Mostly Democratic attorneys general from 19 states, including Hawaii, plus the District of Columbia, filed an amended complaint Friday asking a judge to make it illegal to share plans on creating printable plastic weapons. One Republican — Colorado’s attorney general — joined the lawsuit.

It comes days after U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik blocked the plans from being released until Aug. 28. He has scheduled an Aug. 21 hearing on the states’ request to reverse the U.S. State Department’s agreement with Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed.

The settlement jeopardizes states’ ability to enforce gun laws, including background checks, and puts public safety at risk, the complaint said. The availability of plastic guns threatens safety in prisons and jails and makes air travel more susceptible to terrorist attacks, the states said.

“The states and the District of Columbia have a 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,” Lasnik said in his temporary order Tuesday.

Defense Distributed owner Cody Wilson, a self-described “crypto-anarchist,” has said “governments should live in fear of their citizenry.” His company seeks to make guns accessible to everyone, making “meaningful gun regulation impossible,” according to the complaint.

Wilson’s lawyer, Josh Blackman, said Friday that they are “still considering our options” but did not elaborate.

He told the judge this week that the safety risk claimed by the states is “largely exaggerated” because many of the files are already online.

A group of gun-rights advocates called the Firearms Policy Coalition responded to the judge’s order by creating a website with plans for various firearms, including “the Liberator,” a 3D-printable single-shot handgun.

“Our Constitution’s First Amendment secures the right of all people to engage in truthful speech, including by sharing information contained in books, paintings, and files,” the group said in a statement online. “Should any tyrants wish to chill or infringe the rights of the People, we would welcome the opportunity to defend freedom whenever, wherever, and however necessary.”

Kris Brown, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, a gun-control advocacy group, said the Firearms Policy Coalition’s “reckless and dangerous behavior” isn’t a constitutional position, but “a publicity stunt that will lead to someone being hurt or killed.”

Besides Hawaii, the states suing are Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, California, Colorado, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

President Donald Trump has questioned whether his administration should have agreed to allow the plans to be posted online, tweeting Tuesday that the idea “doesn’t seem to make much sense!”

Since then he has been largely silent on the issue.

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