The Trump Administration has settled a case with a gun rights activist that permits him to publish instructions for making guns with a 3-D printer. That means gun rights activist Cody Wilson can republish his instructions for printing a 3D-gun online and anyone in the United States or across the world can download the instructions and print a gun for themselves.
Wilson has won this case after a four-year battle between him and the U.S. State Department. He had first uploaded the instructions to print a 3D gun called the ‘Liberator’ at the height of 3D printing craze in 2013. Files showing how to replicate the process were downloaded more than 100,000 times.
The U.S. government ordered them to be removed shortly afterwards. It argued that the files violated the International Traffic in Arms Regulation, which governs what military materials can be exported. Basically saying that Wilson’s files broke laws on international gun trafficking.
Wilson and his legal team challenged the State Department order, arguing that it violated Wilson’s right to free speech. They noted that the files shared on the internet contained only plans, not weapons or gun parts.
Wilson teamed up to fight his case with an organization called the Second Amendment Foundation. The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees Americans the right to keep and bear arms.
The foundation recently announced it had reached a settlement with the U.S. government. It said the agreement - offered by the U.S. Justice Department - permits Wilson to legally put his instructional materials back on the internet.
A message on Wilson’s Defense Distributed website announced he plans to relaunch the website DEFCAD on August 1. This will permit him to freely share instructions for making 3-D printed guns. “The age of the downloadable gun formally begins,” the message reads.
The DEFCAD website currently lists information on a number of other 3-D printed weapons including the semi-automatic models AR-10 and AR-15, as well as a Beretta M9 handgun and others.
Critics argue that the decision will result in a rise in so-called ghost guns - unregistered weapons created without government knowledge.