Eight states have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over a recent decision by the Department of Justice to settle a lawsuit with a Texas company that was making available on the internet blueprints for a 3D-printed gun.
The settlement would allow the Texas company, Defense Distributed, to resume distributing the instructions online for anyone to download.
Democratic attorneys general in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Maryland, New York and the District of Columbia filed the suit. Separately, attorneys general in 21 states urged 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."
People can use the blueprints to manufacture a plastic gun using a 3D printer. But gun industry experts have expressed doubt that criminals would go to the trouble, since the printers needed to make the guns are very expensive, the guns themselves tend to disintegrate quickly and traditional firearms are easy to come by.
Unlike traditional firearms that can fire thousands of rounds in their lifetime, experts say the 3D-printed guns normally only last a few rounds before they fall apart. They don't have magazines that allow the usual nine or 15 rounds to be carried; instead, they usually hold a bullet or two and then must be manually loaded afterward. And they're not usually very accurate.
With files from the Associated Press
Michael Hammond, legislative counsel at Gun Owners of America, a gun rights organization based in Springfield, VA
Avery W. Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence; a nonprofit in DC that advocates for gun control