Washington, 7 other states file suit to block 3D printing of firearms

SEATTLE -- The era of the downloadable gun is here.

That's what Cody Wilson, the man behind the idea, is saying on his website Defense Distributed.

In 2013, Wilson told CNN that it was an important symbolic political statement.

The U.S. State Department told him he was violating the law, so in 2015 Wilson sued the feds with the help of the Second Amendment Foundation.

Then, just recently, the federal government settled with Wilson, allowing his plans to move forward.

Concerned Washington leaders say it would allow anyone to create a gun with a 3D printer.

They say they are "ghost guns" that would be untraceable with no serial numbers and no background checks.

“It’s outrageous. If we were at a bar, my language would be stronger, I assure you,” Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson said.

On Monday Ferguson announced that Washington will lead a multistate lawsuit going after the Trump administration over the settlement.

The suit, filed Monday in Seattle, asks a judge to block the federal government's late-June settlement with Defense Distributed, which allowed Wilson's company to make the plans available online. Officials say that 1,000 people have already downloaded blueprints for AR-15 rifles.

"I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?" Ferguson asked. "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."

Joining the suit were Democratic attorneys general in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia.

Separately, attorneys general in 21 states urged U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday to withdraw from the settlement with Defense Distributed, saying it "creates an imminent risk to public safety."

Ferguson said they want a judge to immediately stop Wilson from publishing the 3D printing plans, but as of Monday night the Bellevue-based Second Amendment Foundation says some of the downloadable gun files are already online.

“This is where we are taking gun rights in the future, in the future all guns will be made by 3D printers, all cars will be made by 3D printers,” said Alan Gottlieb with the Second Amendment Foundation.

Gottlieb says the settlement came down after the U.S. State Department realized they couldn't win the case in court because of a First Amendment violation.

“This is part of the Trump Derangement Syndrome. They (Democratic attorneys general) figure if they blame Trump for everything, they can get a win. This has nothing to do with President Trump,” Gottlieb said.

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and interim Police Chief Carmen Best echoed Ferguson’s concerns, saying that allowing anyone to make a gun with a 3D printer is a public safety risk and national security problem.

“This year, to date, we have already taken 700 guns off the streets. If people have the ability to download these guns arbitrarily, the danger to the public is going to be immense,” Best said.

“This is not a question of gun rights. This is really, if there was a terrorist or criminal rights organization, they would be cheering today because this is all about how people who shouldn’t get guns can get guns easily,” Durkan said.

Gottlieb says the entire thing is political, that if some Washington leaders had their way they would prohibit all guns.

He says if a criminal or terrorist wanted to get a gun they could do it easily though other ways.

“It shows how hysterical they are, and hysterical people shouldn't be running government,” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb says in 2013 more than 100,000 people downloaded the manual and that not a single crime has been committed by one of those guns.

A firearms expert told CNN that a 3D printed gun would need to have some type of metal component because it’s federal law. So the guns would be detectable.

The expert also said the guns would also not work properly and that it would take a high-end printer to make a 3D printed gun efficient. And something like that would cost about a quarter of a million dollars.