How NJ’s trying to keep you from 3D-printing guns
New Jersey and a Texas company are trading lawsuits over plans to publish downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed guns, as recently green-lighted by the U.S. State Department.
Two separate legal actions were commenced Monday. New Jersey joined eight state and the District of Columbia in a federal lawsuit against the Trump administration. Separately, it asked a state court to order Defense Distributed not to make its gun blueprints available.
The lawsuits came a day after the company and the Second Amendment Foundation filed their own lawsuit against state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, as well as the city attorney for Los Angeles, that alleges the public officials “have waged an ideologically fueled program of intimidation and harassment … in an effort to silence the organization.”
The issue is coming to a head now because the U.S. State Department agreed that beginning Aug. 1, the company can begin publishing the plans for making firearms with 3D printers. Those downloads actually began Friday, according to the Pennsylvania attorney general.
At least three New Jersey Democrats in Congress are backing the state in the fight.
U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez called printable guns “pretty outrageous” and said they should be banned entirely.
“I don’t know why we would make it easier for anyone, including a terrorist, to be able to have a weapon that is not discoverable,” Menendez said.
“Technology has many advancements, but there are times in which you need to curtail the nature of how a specific technology can be used in order to achieve a greater public good,” he said.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. said he is drafting a bill that would outlaw the production of 3D printable guns, though it can’t be introduced until the House is back in session after Labor Day.
“There’s no background check. You just produce this on a machine in your office or at your home. You don’t have to file for anything or say you have it or anything. You just produce it, and you use it.”
Pallone says he’s been told the printable guns don’t last long and can’t be used more than three or four times because they break down – but that “you only need it once” if you have malicious intent.
“It’s not only that it is not detectable through any kind of electronic device, but you produce it without having to go to a store or do anything,” he said. “So you produce it in your back room. It’s undetectable, and you proceed to go out and, you know, kill people. It’s the worst possible situation, frankly.”
Menendez and Pallone were joined at a Statehouse news conference Monday about the 53rd anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who also said she opposes 3D printable guns.
In its lawsuit Monday, the state says 3D gun blueprints could be used to make illegal and untraceable guns, including by people ineligible to have guns under state law. The state also wrote to the internet service provider for the firearm developer, saying its client will be in violation of its acceptable use policy by using the website to violate state law.
Defense Distributed says it will temporarily block downloads of the blueprints for plastic guns on servers based in New Jersey.
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