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Breaking: Federal Court Temporarily Stops the Trump Administration’s Reckless Decision to Enable Schematics for Downloadable, Untraceable Guns to be Posted Online

Ruling Comes in a Suit Being Brought by 23 Attorneys General to Prevent the Trump Administration From Enabling Schematics for Downloadable, Untraceable Guns to Be Posted Online

The Injunction was Granted Days After a Washington State Man with at least Seven Prior Felony Convictions was Found with a 3-D printer and “Around 17 Pistols and 24 Rifles, Most of Which Appeared Home-Manufactured and Lacked Serial Numbers.”

WASHINGTON — Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, a part of Everytown, released the following statements today applauding a ruling from a federal court in Seattle issuing a preliminary injunction to block the Trump administration from enabling schematics for downloadable, untraceable guns to be posted online for as long as the case is ongoing. 

The ruling comes just days after a Washington state man with at least seven prior felony convictions was arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of ammo. A 3-D printer and “around 17 pistols and 24 rifles, most of which appeared home-manufactured and lacked serial numbers” were found at his home.

“The court has thankfully blocked the Trump administration’s inexplicable decision to make it easier for anyone with an internet connection to 3-D print downloadable, untraceable guns,” said Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action. “We applaud the 23 attorneys general who are taking a stand against the Trump administration’s dangerous and reckless action.”

“The Trump administration has been stopped from allowing downloadable gun schematics to be posted online,” said Nick Suplina, Everytown’s managing director for law and policy. “In doing so, the attorneys general have blocked the Administration from enabling convicted felons, terrorists, and domestic abusers to 3D print untraceable guns with ease.”

This preliminary injunction temporarily blocks the part of the Trump administration’s rule enabling the Commerce Department to grant licenses allowing schematics for downloadable guns to be posted online. The rule was published on January 23, and scheduled to go into effect on March 9th. The injunction will remain in effect pending trial or further order of the court. 

The injunction was granted in a suit being brought by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and the attorneys general of 21 other states and DC. In addition to this injunction, attorneys general are seeking to permanently block the part of the Trump administration rule shifting oversight of downloadable guns from the State Department to the Department of Commerce. The suit argues that the administration has failed to provide any rationale for weakening oversight of downloadable guns, which endanger Americans by making it easier for terrorists and criminals to obtain these weapons. This argument mirrors those made in a previous successful attorneys general suit, also filed in Washington state, in which a federal court granted a nationwide injunction then found the Trump administration’s previous attempt to exempt one company from the State Department’s rule unlawful. The next day, the Trump administration moved forward with the shift in oversight despite the court’s ruling and the American people’s overwhelming opposition to downloadable gun schematics being posted online, therefore enabling anyone––including convicted felons and domestic abusers––to download schematics and 3D-print their own untraceable guns. 

Since downloadable gun schematics were first posted online in 2013, they have begun to show up in the hands of criminals. In February of 2019, for example, a Texas man was sentenced to 8 years in prison after officers caught him with a partially 3-D-printed AR-15 rifle and a list of lawmakers’ addresses in his backpack, despite being banned from owning a firearm due to a violent altercation with a live-in girlfriend. According to the Congressional Research Service, the 3-D printer that a criminal would need to create such a weapon could cost less than $150. The dangers of downloadable guns have been recognized by military veterans, law enforcement officials and survivors of gun violence alike.

Ghost guns—both those made with a 3-D-printer and those made from DIY kits—are a rising problem for law enforcement across the country. DIY ghost guns are made from parts that are currently unregulated by the ATF and are readily available for purchase without a background check. In December, Everytown for Gun Safety called on the ATF to use its existing power to clarify that ghost gun parts should be regulated like firearms and thus subject to a background check.