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US release of 3-D gun software blocked

A US judge on Tuesday blocked the planned release of 3-D printed gun blueprints hours before they were set to hit the internet, siding with states that sued to halt publication of designs to make weapons that security screening may not detect.

US District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle said the blueprints’ publication could cause irreparable harm to US citizens. The decision blocked a settlement President Donald Trump’s administration had reached with a Texas-based company, which initially said it planned to put files online on Wednesday.

Gun control proponents are concerned the weapons made from 3-D printers are untraceable, undetectable “ghost” firearms that pose a threat to global security. Some gun rights groups say the technology is expensive, the guns are unreliable and the threat is being overblown.

Josh Blackman, a lawyer for the company Defense Distributed, said during Tuesday’s hearing that blueprints had already been uploaded to the firm’s website on Friday.

The publication of those files is now illegal under federal law, Lasnik said.

“There are 3-D printers in public colleges and public spaces and there is the likelihood of potential irreparable harm,” Lasnik said at the end of a one-hour hearing on the lawsuit.

Defense Distributed and its founder Cody Wilson, a self-declared anarchist, argued that access to the online blueprints is guaranteed under First and Second Amendment rights, respectively to free speech and to bear arms.

Lasnik said First Amendment issues had to be looked at closely and set another hearing in the case for Aug. 10. In a comment apparently directed at Wilson, the judge said breaking the law was something “anarchists do all the time.”

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