As the fight over 3D printed firearms continues, the recent arrest of a Utah man isn’t going to help the cause of those who support the idea of people building the guns in their homes.
On Tuesday, law enforcement arrested Austin James David West, a 23-year-old man, who threatened to carry out a mass shooting at Broadview University.
Deseret News Utah reports that West made statements to a student who then sent them to the university. The report also states that West referenced plans to carry out a mass shooting in a series of text messages to another student he “has known for several years.” In those text messages, West stated what type of firearm he wanted to use and why he wanted to use it.
Here’s more from Deseret News Utah’s report:
“The statements were forwarded to the university, which caused the university dean to be fearful that a school shooting was actually going to take place. An email had to be sent to faculty and students warning them of the threat of a shooting at the school. The school chose to remain open,” the report states.
West sent several texts to another student he has known for several years, stating that he would commit a shooting that “people would be talking about,” according to a search warrant affidavit unsealed Tuesday in 3rd District Court.
“The text messages sent by the suspect reference killing people with a 3D printed gun so the gun could not be traced back to him. The message contained images of what appears to be a male in a video holding a rifle while standing over another male that is lying on the ground,” the warrant states.
After obtaining a warrant, law enforcement entered West’s parents’ home where he lives, and confiscated a 3D printer. However, the report does not state if law enforcement recovered any 3D printed firearms or any other firearm.
Whether the threat from West was real or not, and despite a mass shooting with a 3D printed firearm being highly improbable, West’s arrest will fuel the concerns of those already opposed to such weapons.
On Monday, a Seattle judge extended an injunction that prohibits Cody Wilson’s Defense Distributed from uploading blueprints for building 3D printed guns to the internet. Though Wilson can’t upload the files himself, they can be found elsewhere for download.
As Tom reported earlier, Wilson and Defense Distributed have found other ways to get the blueprints to those who are interested. Wilson is putting the files on flash drives to sell. The flash drives can only be purchased by those not living in one of the 19 states, including Washington, D.C., that filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration to stop the spread of such files.
West is facing a charge for “making a threat of violence, a class B misdemeanor.”