Court Rules Trump Administration Overstepped In Allowing 3D Printer Files

The Trump administration effectively killed any and all hope for gun control when they backed off an Obama-era rule that forbade disseminating those files via the internet. Almost immediately, anti-gunners went into absolute hysterics, as is the way of their people, and argued that the data would make it impossible to keep guns out of criminals’ hands…as if it isn’t already.


As a result, anti-gunners took the Trump administration to court in an effort to try and block the change.

Well, it seems they’ve won their first victory.

The Trump administration broke a federal law when it reached a settlement allowing a small gun-technology company to post online the digital blueprints for making weapons with a 3D printer, a judge ruled.

The State Department didn’t give the public a proper explanation in 2018 when it reversed an Obama-era position that blocked Defense Distributed from publishing computer-aided design files for guns on the internet, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle ruled on Tuesday.

States that sued over the administration’s settlement with Austin-based Defense Distributed said that allowing people to print untraceable guns at home would put law enforcement officers at risk. The company argued that posting the information was a matter of free speech.

“Given the agency’s prior position regarding the need to regulate 3D-printed firearms and the CAD files used to manufacture them, it must do more than simply announce a contrary position,” Lasnik wrote in his decision.

Lacking such an explanation, the reversal was an “arbitrary and capricious” violation of the federal Administrative Procedure Act, according to the ruling.


Frankly, I’d call the rule “arbitrary and capricious” in the first place.

However, the ruling is also problematic because it basically argues that presidential administrations are somehow obligated to continue with the policy positions of previous administrations. The lawsuit with Defense Distributed was settled in accordance with this administration’s wishes, yet the court is basically trying to argue that the Trump administration should have continued forward with a lawsuit they wanted nothing to do with.

That’s a big chunk of the problem for me.

Of course, that said, I now wonder if a similar case can be made regarding the Trump administration’s change on the bump stock ruling. That, too, was an Obama-era ruling on the legality of something relating to firearms.

Then again, maybe not.

However, what I do know is that this “victory” for anti-gunners really doesn’t mean much. Defense Distributed will still send the files to anyone by mail, thus negating the idea that they’re somehow stopping the spread of these files. Plus, there are a lot of us who downloaded them when they were still available and are able to share them as well.


Frankly, Defense Distributed has already killed gun control. Changes in technology have made it so even more people could build firearms from scratch in their own garages, making it impossible to keep guns out of the hands of anyone who wants one. Not that it was possible before, mind you.

Since we can’t keep guns out of the hands of bad guys now, even with so few actually building guns, it would make more sense to abandon the effort and stop restricting the right to keep and bear arms for law-abiding citizens. It’s just too bad that some people are more driven by emotion than sense.

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