Trump Is ‘Looking Into’ 3-D Printed Plastic Guns
31 July 2018 00:00
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Tuesday that he is “looking into” his administration’s decision to allow a company to begin posting blueprints on the internet to make a 3-D printed plastic gun capable of evading metal detectors.
In a morning tweet, Mr. Trump said that he “already spoke to the NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”
I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 31, 2018
The online statement from the president comes a day after eight states and the District of Columbia filed a joint lawsuit in federal court in Seattle attempting to force the Trump administration to prevent the company, Defense Distributed, from making the technical plans for the plastic guns available online.
State Department officials for President Barack Obama blocked the company in 2013 from distributing the downloadable designs for the firearm, saying it violated export laws that ban the distribution of firearms to other countries. But last month, Mr. Trump’s State Department reversed course and said it would allow the company to post the plans.
In the lawsuit filed Monday, the officials urged a judge to block that decision, saying that terrorists could use hard-to-trace plastic weapons to evade detection by metal detectors. They said allowing the company to continue posting the plans online is a threat to public safety.
“3-D printed guns are functional weapons that are often unrecognizable by standard metal detectors because they are made out of materials other than metal (e.g., plastic) and untraceable because they contain no serial numbers,” the state officials said in the lawsuit. “Anyone with access to the CAD files and a commercially available 3-D printer could readily manufacture, possess, or sell such a weapon.”
Officials for the company have argued that they have a First Amendment right to post the blueprints for the guns online, and have characterized the government’s long-running attempts to block it as an ideological, anti-gun campaign.
It is not clear what Mr. Trump is prepared to do in the wake of his tweet. The president has been a staunch supporter of gun rights and has repeatedly said that he is the best friend of the National Rifle Association, which contributed about $30 million to his presidential campaign.