July 30, 2018

Website publishing 3D downloadable guns shut down in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro, Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania State Police announced Sunday night successful blocking of access to 3D downloadable guns in Pennsylvania.  Following an emergency hearing in federal court in Philadelphia initiated by the Attorney General, a company seeking to distribute downloadable gun files over the Internet agreed to make its sites inaccessible to Pennsylvania users, and to not upload any new 3D gun files.

Before Sunday’s hearing, the company, Defense Distributed, had promised that on August 1, “the age of the downloadable gun formally begins.” The defendants claimed in court that they began distributing gun files even earlier – on Friday. By Sunday, about 1,000 people had already downloaded 3D plans for AR-15 semi-automatic assault rifles.

The public safety controversy erupted after Defense Distributed recently settled with the federal government following a lengthy litigation, allowing it to continue its ‘at home’ gun-printing business. Left unchecked, Americans would be able to download a wide range of actual, working guns, including AR-15s, and 3D print their own guns – without serial numbers and without being subjected to the background check system for gun sales currently in place under federal and state law through licensed firearms dealers.

Shapiro, Wolf and State Police sued in U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Pennsylvania, to block the company from distributing its 3D gun designs in Pennsylvania. Sunday evening, the company agreed to block Pennsylvania users from its site, following an emergency hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Paul Diamond.

“The harm to Pennsylvanians would have been immediate and irreversible,” Shapiro said. “Defense Distributed was promising to distribute guns in Pennsylvania in reckless disregard of the state laws that apply to gun sales and purchases in our Commonwealth. Once these untraceable guns are on our streets and in our schools, we can never get them back. The decision tonight to block Pennsylvania users from downloading these 3D gun files is a victory for public safety and common sense. The company also agreed to not upload any new gun files to its sites – another important development.”

According to the lawsuit, anyone can become a member of Defense Distributed for a nominal fee.  When you sign up, you are only required to pick a username, password and supply an email. You are not asked for proof of age, a valid gun license or a permit-to-carry number.  The company promises that by joining, members “do more than protect the Second Amendment.  They fund its direct, material expansion”, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit states that “Defense Distributed has sought to bypass these established legal requirements to instantaneously deliver real, operational firearms to any Pennsylvanian with an internet connection and a 3D printer.” 

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