BREAKING: Federal Judge Blocks Release of 3D Printed Gun Plans

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
A 3D printed ‘Liberator’ on display at the V&A (Justin Pickard)

A federal Judge from the Western District of Washington, based in Seattle, temporary block on the publication of a series of 3D printed firearms plans by The plans had been due to go online on 1st August, after the way was cleared for publication by a Justice Department ruling in June.

The recent Justice Department ruling, announced last month, ended a long running legal battle between Defense Distributed / DEFCAD’s founder, along with the Second Amendment Foundation against the State Department. An agreement was reached after two years of wrangling and a settlement with the government paying back a substantial portion of the plantiff’s legal fees.

Screenshot of DEFCAD's download section before it was taken down. (Screenshot via CNET)

However, the news met with immediate backlash with concerns about so called ‘ghost guns’ being raised. This culminated with eight states including Washington, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia suing the government on Monday to block the settlement and the publication of plans.

in a separate effort the state attorney generals of 20 states, including: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington state wrote a joint letter to the State Department and the Department of Justice asking them to immediately block the 3D-printed gun plans from being published.

In response DEFCAD complied with the Courts’ temporary block, with the site’s founder Cody Wilson tweeting that the site would again be ‘going dark’.

Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who launched the suit, said:

These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history.

Wilson responded in Ann interview with CBS saying:

If I allow you to download and AR-15, I don’t believe that I provide you with anything other than the general knowledge of what an AR-15 is. I am no different from a publisher of information.

While the agreement had been to begin publishing the 3D plans on the 1st August, Defense Distributed actually began uploading the plans to their website on 27th July. Nine designs had been uploaded before DEFCAD went dark. The site’s own download counters reportedly showed that the plans had been downloaded over 20,000 times. Another hearing has been scheduled for the 10th August, by the Seattle Federal judge Robert Lasnik.

Sources: 1 2 3

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: & Overt Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at:

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