Judge says president or Congress should decide fate of 3D guns

The 3-D printer pistol, circa 2013. (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

SEATTLE (AP) — A federal judge hearing arguments over a settlement that allows a company to post online plans for printing 3D guns said the overall issue of such untraceable plastic weapons should be decided by the president or Congress.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik said Tuesday that he’ll rule on the legal issues involving the settlement between the company and the Trump administration.

He added, however, that “a solution to the greater problem is so much better suited” to the president or Congress.

Lasnik recently issued a restraining order blocking the online release of the plans. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia want the judge to make it permanent.

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Washington state Assistant Attorney General Jeff Rupert argued that the government’s decision to allow Texas-based Defense Distributed to post the 3D gun plans threatens public safety and should be reversed.

A lawyer for the U.S. Justice Department disagreed, saying it’s already illegal to possess plastic guns and the government is fully committed to enforcing that law. He argued that the states are focused on the wrong statute.

Lasnik repeatedly questioned that logic, asking how the government can be vigorously enforcing a law banning plastic undetectable guns but not proactively stopping them from being made.