A federal judge’s ruling on Monday blocks people from posting 3D-printed gun blueprints online.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Lasnik’s decision extends a previous temporary restraining order from late July that prevented the Texas-based nonprofit Defense Distributed from posting 3D-printed gun designs on the Internet. Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson has said the decision violated his First Amendment rights.
The judge’s ruling on Monday, however, said that posting 3D-printed weapon plans could cause unspecified “irreparable harms.”
“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Amendment rights are dwarfed by the irreparable harms the States are likely to suffer if the existing restrictions are withdrawn and that, overall, the public interest strong supports maintaining the status quo through the pendency of this litigation,” Lasnik wrote in his ruling.
The decision extends a contentious debate over the limits of free speech and gun rights that has escalated in recent months following a decision by the Trump administration to settle a previous case against Wilson. That settlement had allowed Wilson to post 3D-printed gun blueprints, which led to a coalition of attorneys general suing the Trump administration in Seattle federal court in order to block that settlement.
Regarding the judge’s ruling on Monday, Wilson said in a statement, “The order is a manifest injustice and literally admits to being an abridgment of the freedom of speech,” according to Reuters.
Although the ruling now forbids organizations from posting the 3D-printed gun blueprints to the Internet, the case will continue, although no further hearings appear to be scheduled.
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Still, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey cheered Monday’s ruling via Twitter.
Earlier this month Facebook (FB) said it would ban users from posting blueprints for 3-D-printed weapons on its service. Meanwhile, last week, Amazon (AMZN) removed a book from its online store that reportedly contained software code that could be used to produce a 3D-printed gun.