States claim Trump’s new firearm rules will allow spread of 3D printed gun blueprints online

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Washington AG Bob Ferguson. (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Washington state plans to sue the federal government over a proposed change that Attorney General Bob Ferguson warns will lead to the proliferation of blueprints for 3D printed guns online.

Ferguson announced Monday that he plans to lead a 21-state lawsuit over a proposed rule that would transfer regulation of certain firearms from one department to another. It’s the 55th time that the state has sued the Trump administration.

The federal government released a rule Friday that would transfer regulatory authority of 3D printed guns and other firearms from the State Department to the Department of Commerce. The rule change began under the Obama administration, according to CNBC. Its intent is to increase sales of firearms and ammunition abroad by lowering costs for American gun manufacturers. The change is also an effort to focus State Department regulation on firearms that could pose risks to national security.

Ferguson’s office claims that the move will result in deregulation of 3D printed firearms because of “loopholes in the Commerce regulations.” He plans to file a lawsuit in federal court in Seattle challenging the rule once it is finalized.

“Why is the Trump Administration working so hard to allow domestic abusers, felons and terrorists access to untraceable, undetectable 3D-printed guns?” Ferguson said in a statement.

It will be the second legal challenge from Washington over the distribution of 3D printed guns. At the center of the dispute is an organization called Defense Distributed that is determined to share downloadable blueprints for 3D-printed guns online.

The federal government originally sought to block Defense Distributed from releasing the plans but the State Department reversed course in a 2018 settlement. Ferguson sued, claiming the settlement violated administrative procedure rules and states’ rights to regulate firearms. A federal judge in Seattle issued a long-term injunction barring the 3D printed gun instructions from being released.

Ferguson claims that the regulatory change issued by the Trump administration last week is an attempt to allow the proliferation of 3D printed gun blueprints. Back in Washington state, Ferguson convinced the legislature to pass a law designating untraceable 3D printed guns as contraband and forbidding individuals from sending plans for the firearms to anyone ineligible to possess them.

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