Judge: President, Congress should eye 3D guns

A federal judge hearing arguments over a settlement that allows a company to post online plans for printing 3D guns said the overall issue of such untraceable plastic weapons should be decided by the president or Congress.

Posted: Aug 21, 2018 5:17 PM

SEATTLE (AP) - The Latest on a lawsuit aimed at blocking a settlement that allows a company to post online plans for printing 3D guns. (all times local):

11:30 a.m.

A federal judge hearing arguments over a settlement that allows a company to post online plans for printing 3D guns said the overall issue of such untraceable plastic weapons should be decided by the president or Congress.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik said Tuesday that he'll rule on the legal issues involving the settlement between the company and the Trump administration.

He added, however, that "a solution to the greater problem is so much better suited" to the president or Congress.

Lasnik recently issued a restraining order blocking the online release of the plans. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia want the judge to make it permanent.

Washington state Assistant Attorney General Jeff Rupert argued that the government's decision to allow Texas-based Defense Distributed to post the 3D gun plans threatens public safety and should be reversed.

A lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department disagreed, saying it is already illegal to possess plastic guns and the government is fully committed to enforcing that law. He argued that the states are focused on the wrong statute.

Lasnik repeatedly questioned that logic, asking how the government can be vigorously enforcing a law banning plastic, undetectable guns but not proactively stopping them from being made.

___

9 p.m.

A federal judge in Seattle is scheduled to hear arguments on whether to block a settlement the U.S. State Department reached with a company that wants to post blueprints for printing 3D weapons on the internet.

The federal agency had tried to stop a Texas company from releasing the plans online, arguing it violated export regulations. But the agency reversed itself in April and entered an agreement with the company that would allow it to post the plans.

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia sued and last month secured a restraining order to stop that process, and now they want to make it permanent.

The U.S. Justice Department says federal law already prohibits the manufacture or possession of undetectable plastic guns.

The states say the government's actions could cause "drastic, irreparable harm."

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