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US company uses loophole to dodge ban on selling 3D-printed gun blueprints

3D printed gun
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Texas-based company Defense Distributed has resumed selling plans for 3D-printed plastic guns, despite the extension of an injunction to prevent it.

The company's founder Cody Wilson claims the ban only stops him publishing the plans online – a rule he can avoid by delivering them by file transfer, secure email, or on a thumb drive sent through the mail.

“I feel no way that we’ve been interrupted,” Wilson said at a press conference.

Accountable to the law

In 2013, the US Department of State forced Defence Distributed to take down blueprints for a pistol known as the 'Liberator' on the grounds that they violated weapons trafficking regulations. The gun is easily assembled, can't be picked up by metal detectors, and is impossible to trace due to the lack of serial numbers.

After a long legal battle, Defense Distributed emerged victorious (opens in new tab) and the government approved the files for publication, but its triumph was short-lived.

Just three days later, a US district judge granted a restraining order, blocking sale of the plans once more. A federal judge then extended the ban (opens in new tab), which will remain in place until the resolution of a lawsuit brought by eight state attorneys to reverse the decision to approve the files.

Washington state attorney general Bob Ferguson, who led the lawsuit against Defense Distributed, said he hopes the state will hold Wilson 'accountable'. 

"I trust the federal government will hold Cody Wilson, a self-described 'crypto-anarchist', accountable to that law," Ferguson said in a statement to The Independent (opens in new tab). "If they don't, President Trump will be responsible for anyone who is hurt or killed as a result of these weapons.”

Lead image credit: Andrzej Wojcicki/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Cat Ellis
Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)