Anyone will soon be able to 3D-print their own gun — here’s how you can fight back
UPDATE, July 31st: A federal judge has issued a temporary nationwide injunction blocking the online release of blueprints for 3-D printed plastic guns. On Monday, July 30th, eight attorneys general filed a joint lawsuit in Seattle federal court urging the Trump administration to stop the release of the schematics, writing in the lawsuit that the plastic guns are especially dangerous because they “are functional weapons that are often unrecognizable by standard metal detectors because they are made out of materials other than metal (e.g., plastic) and untraceable because they contain no serial numbers.” Judge Robert S. Lasnik blocked the release of the blueprints soon after the suit was filed, but noted that First Amendment concerns will have to be further evaluated.
PREVIOUSLY, July 25th:
Although 2018 has seen thousands of people mobilize in support of common sense gun laws, little reform has taken place. And in a huge setback for gun control, U.S. citizens will soon have access to blueprints for 3-D printed guns, meaning that firearms will become even easier to obtain.
The Guardian reports that the blueprints will be available starting August 1st, thanks to a June court settlement between the U.S. State Department and the blueprint’s designer. Once the design is readily available, those who wish to manufacture their own untraceable weapons will need only a 3D printer, ABS plastic resin, and a separate metal firing pin to do so.
According to the New York Times, Cody Wilson, the owner of the organization Defense Distributed, originally posted the blueprints to his website back in 2013. When the State Department ordered him to take the instructions down, he sued the government in 2015, alleging that forcing him to remove the schematics was a violation of the First Amendment. On June 29th, 2018, the government opted to settle the suit, making the blueprints available to the public and paying Wilson’s $40,000 in legal fees.
"The age of the downloadable gun begins," the Defense Distributed website currently reads.
Once the schematics for these 3D-printed guns go live, people will have a way to make weapons like the AR-15, used in several mass shootings, in their own homes. And since these weapons will not have serial numbers, the government will have no way to track them.
Avery Gardiner, the co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence told CNN that she’s worried that 3D-printed guns will allow people who wouldn’t otherwise pass a criminal background check to get their hands on a weapon.
"I think everybody in America ought to be terrified about that," she said.
If the concept of “downloadable guns” gives you chills, there are some steps you can take. You can email Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to tell him you oppose this decision. Likewise, you can always contact your elected officials and ask them to pass legislation to combat this settlement. You can also donate to or volunteer with organizations fighting gun violence, like Moms Demand Action or Everytown for Gun Safety.
It’s scary to think that anyone will soon have potential access to firearms, but it’s important to keep fighting. We need common-sense gun laws now more than ever.