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Judge Blocks Austin Company's Plans To Post 3D-Printed Gun Files

Ilana Panich-Linsman for KUT

A federal judge in Seattle has agreed to extend an order blocking an Austin-based company from publishing 3D-printable gun designs on the internet. 

Nineteen states and the District of Columbia had sued the U.S. State Department to block a deal it reached with Defense Distributed that carved out an exception to federal arms export rules — expressly allowing the company to publish plans for the guns. The states argue their residents will be endangered by allowing untraceable gun designs to be distributed online and that the State Department didn't follow proper procedures in creating an exception for the files.

Defense Distributed argues its First Amendment rights are being infringed.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik todayissued a temporary injunction, blocking the deal until the states' complaints can be heard in full.

"The Court finds that the irreparable burdens on the private defendants’ First Amendment rights are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, overall, the public interest strongly supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation," Lasnik wrote in his order.

However, Defense Distributed had posted the plans online for four days late last month. They were downloaded thousands of times and are being shared on other sites.

Matt Largey is the Projects Editor at KUT. That means doing a little bit of everything: editing reporters, producing podcasts, reporting, training, producing live events and always being on the lookout for things that make his ears perk up. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @mattlargey.
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