The Bulletin

Judge issues injunction on posting plans for 3-D printing of guns, but they may still be online

By: - August 27, 2018 3:16 pm

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.

Twenty-one attorneys general, including Virginia’s Mark Herring, won a preliminary injunction Monday against a company that wanted to distribute plans to print plastic guns from 3-D printers online.

“The Trump administration’s reckless plan to make 3D-printed guns widely available and easily accessible was one of the most dangerous ideas I have ever heard,” Herring said in a news release.

“As a country, we need to focus on keeping our communities safer, not making it easier for dangerous individuals or criminals to get their hands on home-printed, untraceable and undetectable guns.”

Defense Distributed, a Texas-based company, planned to post blueprints for the plastic guns on its website Aug. 1 after years of litigation that started under President Barack Obama ended with a settlement coming from President Donald Trump’s administration.

The company has said being ordered to remove the plans is a free speech violation, while states have cited concerns about creating untraceable weapons with the plans.

“3D-printed guns could be undetectable by metal detectors, untraceable because of a lack of a serial number, and sought out by criminals and domestic abusers who cannot legally possess a firearm or pass a background check,” Herring’s office said. “The company that wants to distribute the plans online does not require proof of age or proof of eligibility before allowing a customer to download the plans.”

However, it’s likely the downloadable plans are still floating around the Internet — they were downloaded hundreds of times earlier this month before a judge ordered them to be taken down.

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Mechelle Hankerson
Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.