Legally, there is now no stopping Defense Distributed from getting its 3D-printable gun files into the hands of interested U.S. citizens.
A series of lawsuits filed by nineteen U.S. states against the Texas-based Defense Distributed can’t stop it from providing paying customers with the 3D-printable gun files that have been taken down from the internet. According to reports, the company owned by the self-proclaimed crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson will be shipping the gun blueprints directly to its customers.
For years, Wilson and his company have struggled to put their gun designs on the Internet, but their efforts have been futile. The U.S. State Department has blocked the online publication, citing violations on the international arms export rules. However, the government has reportedly got into a settlement with Wilson earlier this year, exempting Defense Distributed from the said rules.
The settlement didn’t sit well with several states in the country, leading to a lawsuit filed against Defense Distributed. The latter blocked the 3D-printed gun blueprints from being published online earlier this month. In the case filed by the District of Columbia and nineteen states, they stated that the publication would put residents at risk from “untraceable” DIY guns.
On Monday, Seattle District Judge Robert Lasnik finally issued a temporary restraining order which stops the State Department’s settlement with Wilson and his company from being executed.
“3D-printed guns represent a supreme threat to our safety and security, and we are grateful that Judge Lasnik recognized it as such. But we also recognize that the menace does not end here,” Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, said in a statement after the order has been released.
Already, there have been a wave of dangerous actors seeking to illegally post the blueprints online. We are committed to doing everything in our power to prevent this threat from continuing further.
However, in his order, Lasnik specified that while the files could not be uploaded to the Internet, it could be “emailed, mailed, securely transmitted, or otherwise published in the United States.” This gave Wilson and Defense Distributed the opportunity to distribute their 3D-printable gun files still.
On Tuesday, Wilson confirmed in a news conference that his company would be mailing USB drives to paying customers. At the end of the event, Wilson also said that they already received over 400 orders. He also specified that he could send the files through email or other secure online transfer.
In his years of fight to put the downloadable gun files to the Internet, Wilson argued that it is his right to post the files because they are free speech as per the First Amendment. Despite losing the battle, Wilson remained positive and said that the legal fight over his 3D gun designs is good for his business and cause.
“There are many, many people who will have to take an interest in this — for or against — but [who] wouldn’t have otherwise even cared about it if it wasn’t being opposed,” Wilson was quoted as saying.