A firm that had uploaded 3D-printable blueprints for guns has circumvented the ban on sharing them online by selling pen drives containing the files.
Defense Distributed has launched the delivery of these pen drives to customers in select states in the U.S. It has put a price tag of $10, but customers can choose how much to pay. Cody Wilson, the founder of the firm said he had already received 400 orders.
The blueprints of the 3D printable guns are computer-aided designs (CADs) which were originally published online in 2013. But the website was quickly ordered to remove the files over fears they could be used by terrorists or criminals to make untraceable "ghost guns".
But earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice ruled that the blueprints did not represent a national security threat and could be put back online. They were then downloaded thousands of times, prompting outcry from 19 U.S. states. These states launched a legal action against the U.S. government which in turn led to a federal judge issuing a temporary ban which saw the files once again removed from the internet.
"Anyone who wants to get these files is going to get them. They can name their own price," Wilson proclaimed at a press conference. He said that his move was motivated by the desire to support freedom of speech rather than to make money.
The main Defense Distributed website still carries a statement saying that it had been ordered to shut down its file repository.
Defense Distributed has also hosted files that are the blueprints to manufacture a range of firearms using a 3D printer. These include 3D-printable components that could make a version of the AR-15 rifle, a gun that has been used in multiple mass shooting incidents across the U.S.
It is also just 48 hours since another mass shooting in Florida claimed three lives at a gaming event.