US: Judge halts 3D printed gun downloads

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) – A federal judge in Seattle, Washington temporarily halted downloads of 3D-printable gun schematics Tuesday, questioning an agreement the Trump administration brokered with a Texas-based company that allowed them to be re-uploaded.

District Court Judge Robert Lasnik issued the restraining order that is forcing Austin-based Defense Distributed to halt downloads while the judge reviews the case.

The company had earlier reached an agreement with the Trump administration to resume downloads of its 3D-printed "ghost guns," which critics claim are nearly impossible to trace and make it easier for criminals and terrorists to get their hands on firearms. The settlement ended a multi-year legal battle in which the State Department argued the downloadable schematics violated U.S. export law.

A coalition of eight states and the District of Columbia led by Washington state sued the Trump administration Monday over the agreement.

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson hailed the judge's decision, telling reporters that the administration's agreement with Defense Distributed is "disastrous".

"These ghost guns are untraceable, virtually undetectable and, without today’s victory, available to any felon, domestic abuser or terrorist," he said in a separate statement. "I hope the President does the right thing and directs his administration to change course.”

Donald Trump tweeted earlier Tuesday that he already spoke with the powerful National Rifle Association gun rights lobby about the issue, which he said "doesn’t seem to make much sense!"

The debate over gun control has largely died down after a series of school shootings that stirred public outrage, but the administration's agreement has refocused some attention on the issue ahead of November's midterm elections.

A petition started by actress Alyssa Milano calling on Congress to permanently prohibit 3D printed guns from being produced or sold had garnered over 5,500 signatures by Tuesday evening.