Once again, a district court judge in the Western District of Washington at Seattle has blocked a Texas-based company from posting blueprints for 3D-printed guns on the internet.
In a 25-page ruling released Monday, Judge Robert Lasnik granted a motion for preliminary injunction filed by the plaintiffs that bars Defense Distributed from releasing online a set of computer aided design files that would allow anyone with a commercially available 3D printer to make certain guns and gun parts. The judge heard oral arguments in the case last week; during the proceeding, Lasnik expressed frustration that neither the president nor Congress had acted to resolve the issue.
In his opinion released today, Lasnik wrote: “The Court finds that the irreparable burdens on the private defendant’s First Amendment rights are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, overall, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation.”
Lasnik had previously issued a temporary restraining order in the case on July 31. That order had been briefly extended once, but was set to expire Aug. 28.
The origin of this fight stretches back several years into the presidency of Barack Obama. Back then, the owner of Defense Distributed, Cody Wilson, intended to release CAD files for guns such as a pistol known as the “Liberator” and frames for an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. During Obama’s presidency, the State Department sued to block Wilson from posting the CAD files by including the files on the United States Munitions List, making them subject to violations under International Traffic and Arms Regulations.
The lawsuit proceed, but the Trump administration settled the case in June, making way for the release of the files. Shortly thereafter, a collection of states led by the Washington State attorney general stepped in, attempting to block the Aug. 1 release.
Colorado was among the 19 state involved in the lawsuit ruled on by Judge Lasnik.