Trump administration joined with the National Rifle Association in support of an existing law that they say makes owning or making homemade plastic guns illegal. On Tuesday, President Donald Trump tweeted that allowing plastic guns, some of which can be made with 3D printing technology, "doesn't seem to make much sense!"
Onboard Air Force One, presidential spokesman Hogan Gidley, "The President is committed to the safety and security of all American; he considers this his highest responsibility." He added, "In the United States, it's currently illegal to own or make a wholly plastic gun of any kind, including those made on a 3D printer.” Continuing, Gidley said that the administration still supports a nearly three-decade-old law that covers the practice of manufacturing undetectable firearms, “and will continue to look at all options available to us to do what is necessary to protect Americans while also supporting the First and Second Amendments."
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
President Donald Trump tweeted on Tuesday, "I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!" Also on Tuesday, NRA spokesman Chris W. Cox released a statement, saying, "Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet, undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years." Cox added, "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."
In a related development, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik of Seattle issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday that stops the release of plans for untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed firearms, ruling that they could end in the hands of criminals. Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, which was behind the plans, had reached a settlement with the federal government last month that would have made them available for downloading from the internet on Wednesday. Judge Lasnik wrote, "There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made." Lasnik was nominated by Bill Clinton.
The firearms in question are fabricated from hard plastic and are easy to manufacture, assemble, and conceal.
The restraining order came after eight Democratic state attorneys general filed a lawsuit on Monday seeking to block the federal government's settlement with Defense Distributed. Arguing that the 3D guns were a safety risk, they sought the restraining order. Democrats in Congress have urged Trump to reverse the decision to allow the publication of the plans.
This is great news, but the issue is far from resolved. The TRO is by its nature temporary. Because Trump is unwilling or unable to fix this problem of his own making, I will keep fighting to permanently ban online digital files for 3D-printable guns. #StopDownloadableGuns https://t.co/xVX6t2Y6Xg— Ed Markey (@SenMarkey) July 31, 2018
Congressional Democrats have urged President Donald Trump to reverse the decision to let Defense Distributed publish the plans. Trump said Tuesday that he's "looking into" the idea, saying making 3D plastic guns available to the public "doesn't seem to make much sense!"
Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey (D) and Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal introduced legislation that would prohibit the publication of digital online plans to manufacture firearms. Democrats have also filed legislation to require all firearms to include at least one metal component.
The founder of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson, first published downloadable designs for a 3D-printed firearm in 2013, which have since been downloaded about 100,000 times until the State Department ordered him to cease. The State Department declared that it violated federal export laws because some of the blueprints were downloaded by people outside the United States. Reversing course in June, the State Department agreed to allow Wilson to resume posting the blueprints.
On Sunday, Defense Distributed filed a lawsuit in Texas. The company argues that that it is the victim of an "ideologically fueled program of intimidation and harassment" in violation of the First Amendment of the Constitution.
The plans can be used to make plastic guns using a 3D printer, but experts contend that crooks would not go to the trouble of doing so because of the easy availability of illegal firearms. The printers used to manufacture the 3D guns are very expensive, and the guns are fragile, breaking apart after just a few rounds.