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The Daily Beast: Couple Uses Downloadable Gun to Murder Ex’s Mom

The Murder Comes As Trump Admin Prepares to Allow 3D-Printed Gun Blueprints to be Posted Online 

Experts are available to provide more information on downloadable guns and the litigation.

According to the Daily Beast, a newly-engaged couple has “been charged with murdering a 54-year-old Rhode Island woman, pumping 9mm bullets into her chest with what appears to be a 3D-printed gun.” This murder comes little more than a month after the Trump administration moved to make it possible to post downloadable gun blueprints online, despite a federal court finding the administration’s previous attempt to do so unlawful and overwhelming opposition from the American people. Posting 3D-gun blueprints online enables anyone––including terrorists, convicted felons, and domestic abusers––to download schematics online and create their own untraceable guns. 

The Daily Beast’s report by Tracy Connor, which can be read in full here, tells the full story: 

  • “Pawtucket police said they were called to the home of Cheryl Smith on New Year’s Day and found her dead of multiple gunshot wounds.”
  • “They then arrested Shaylyn Moran, 18, who used to date Smith’s son, and her new boyfriend, Jack Doherty, 23, of Albany, at a Hampton Inn. Both were arraigned Thursday on first-degree murder and conspiracy charges and held without bail.”
  • “Detective Sgt. Christopher LeFort of the Pawtucket Major Crimes Square said investigators are still examining the murder weapon, ‘but it does appear to be 3D-printed.’” He added that it is the first 3D-printed weapon he’s “seen used.” 
  • The day before the shooting, Doherty posted a selfie (pictured below) to Facebook holding a gun that “appeared similar” to the murder weapon. Moran commented on the picture, saying, “Omg u better lemme hold it when I get there.” Later, the couple “announced their engagement on their Facebook pages” and “went to Smith’s home” where the murder was committed. 

This deadly shooting comes at the same time as the Trump administration prepares to shift oversight of downloadable guns from the State Department to the Department of Commerce, thus allowing the publication of downloadable gun blueprints online. A federal court found the administration’s previous attempt to do so unlawful, deciding that the administration had failed to provide any rationale for the sudden change in the State Department’s previous determination that downloadable guns endanger Americans by making it easier for terrorists and criminals to obtain these weapons. 

Despite the court’s ruling, on November 13th, the administration moved forward with the shift in oversight by making the text of a final rule available to Congress––a step that is required at least 30 days before the final rule can take effect. Those 30 days have now elapsed, meaning that the Trump administration can now move any day to finalize the rule that would enable anyone––including convicted felons and domestic abusers––to download schematics and print their own untraceable guns. 

This incident follows another recent incident related to downloadable guns. In February of 2019, another Texas man was sentenced to 8 years in prison “after officers caught him with a partially 3D-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.” 

Experts are available to provide more information on downloadable guns and the litigation.