Molly Prince | Reporter
Senate Democrats are expressing outrage over a settled lawsuit allowing Americans access to detailed firearms blueprints, which will enable a roadmap to designs that can be recreated with a 3-D printer at home.
The lawsuit was brought about after Cody Wilson, founder of the nonprofit digital publishing firm Defense Distributed, sued the U.S. Department of State for infringing on his First Amendment rights.
Defense Distributed published the blueprints for the Liberator, a plastic single-shot pistol, in 2013. The blueprint was downloaded more than 100,000 times before the State Department demanded its removal, citing violation of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.
The Department of Justice settled the lawsuit, which was finalized in June, permitting Americans the ability to “access, discuss, use, reproduce or otherwise benefit from the technical data.” (RELATED: The Government Will Allow Gun Designs To Be Distributed Online, A Blow To Gun Control Efforts)
Senate Democrats are up in arms over the decision and urging both the State Department and the Department of Justice to intervene.
“I am sounding an alarm that come Aug. 1, America is going to get a lot less safe when it comes to the gut-wrenching epidemic of gun violence,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said. “Ghost guns are not only scary, they’re outright dangerous in the way they can mimic the look and the capacity of a hardened, fully semi-automatic weapon.”
“This decision to allow ghost gun blueprints to go unchecked across the internet will come back to haunt the feds and cost lives,” Schumer continued. However, it is unclear what constitutes a “fully semi-automatic” weapon.
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida tweeted a copy of a letter written to Attorney General Jeff Sessions criticizing the settlement and “demanding answers.”
The Trump administration is reversing a rule that banned people from posting instructions on how to make a fully-functioning gun at home with a 3D printer. DOJ will allow people to start posting these blueprints Aug 1st. This is a dangerous decision and we are demanding answers. pic.twitter.com/9GSoka37Ju
— Senator Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) July 25, 2018
The letter called the decision “inconsistent with DOJ’s previous position and is as dangerous as it is confounding.” It was signed by four other senators in addition to Nelson.
Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the ranking member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, wrote a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on him to urgently reconsider the Department’s position.
“It is hard to see how making it easier for criminal and terrorist organizations to obtain untraceable weapons is in the foreign policy and national security interests of the United States,” Menendez wrote Wednesday. “Moreover, the domestic risk cannot be understated, especially with the high rates of gun violence in our schools, churches, clubs and public gathering places.”
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