U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Assistant Democratic Leader, cosponsored a bill to block the online publication of blueprints that can be used to make fully functioning 3D-printed guns.
The legislation, filed Tuesday by Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), would make it illegal for anyone to intentionally publish a digital file online that programs a 3D printer to automatically manufacture a firearm.
The move comes just hours before the Trump Administration will allow people to start posting such blueprints online; Senators Murray, Nelson, and others have argued that this decision will make it easier for people in the U.S. who are barred from owning a firearm under federal law – including violent criminals and domestic abusers – to make their own untraceable and undetectable firearms at home using a 3D printer.
“At a time when we are seeing community after community, and family after family being devastated by gun violence, it’s unconscionable that the Trump Administration would simply shrug off this potential threat,” said Murray.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans have made it clear to me and the rest of Congress that they want more common sense gun safety reforms to keep their families safe, not fewer – and allowing anyone to publish blueprints online that help people print deadly weapons is a direct rebuke to their wishes and to the health and safety of children and families nationwide.”
3D-printed plastic guns are fully-functioning firearms often made with resin or plastic using a 3D printer, making them virtually undetectable when carried through a metal detector or past security.
In August 2016, Transportation and Security Administration agents at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport found and confiscated a plastic gun from a passenger’s carry-on bag during screening. The gun, assembled using a 3D printer, was found loaded with five live .22 caliber bullets.
For years, the U.S. State Department has argued that allowing these blueprints for 3D-printed guns to be published online would violate federal export controls because the digital codes would help facilitate the manufacturing of weapons that can be accessed freely around the globe.
However, despite the State Department’s argument and a longstanding ban that has prohibited Americans from publishing such documents online, the U.S. Justice Department decided to abruptly settle a lawsuit earlier this month that will allow people to start posting blueprints for 3D-printed guns online starting Wednesday, August 1.
A federal judge in Seattle, U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik, issued a restraining order Tuesday afternoon temporarily stopping the release of blueprints to make the 3D-printed plastic guns.
Texas-based company, Defense Distributed, was set to allow downloads on Wednesday, although blueprints have been posted since Friday. The temporary restraining order blocks the release until the next scheduled hearing on August 10.
Mayor Jenny A. Durkan said, “Creating an unlicensed gun with a 3D printer should not be a ‘do-it-yourself’ download available to anyone. As a former federal prosecutor, I know untraceable and unregulated 3D-printed guns present a real danger to the residents of Seattle.”
“I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?” Ferguson asked. “These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history. If the Trump Administration won’t keep us safe, we will.”
“It is deeply concerning that anyone could have the ability to create untraceable and potentially undetectable deadly weapons,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee. “We must do whatever we can to keep criminals from acquiring and creating these guns.”
In 2013, Congress extended a ban on the sale, manufacturing or possession of these fully-plastic guns by requiring that all firearms contain at least 3.7 ounces of steel so they can be detected by a metal detector. In extending that ban, however, Congress did not mandate which parts of the gun had to be metal – creating a legal loophole that allows people to attach a small removable piece of metal to an otherwise fully-plastic gun. These detachable metal clips can often be easily removed before entering a security screening area and reattached again after to meet the law’s requirement.
On Monday, nine states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration to stop the publication of the 3D printer gun blueprints on the internet.
The lawsuit argues that the Trump Administration action is arbitrary and capricious, and in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act.
The lawsuit also argues the settlement violates the Tenth Amendment by infringing on states’ rights to regulate firearms.
The full text of the bill is online for further background.
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4 Dead and 4 Injured With 2 ‘Shot in the Back of the Head’ in Second Chicago Mass Shooting in Four Days
Four people were shot to death and another four people were injured in the second mass shooting in Chicago in four days. Two of the injured were “shot in the back of the head,” according to WTTW.
Citing police, the report says “shots were fired following an argument. The shooting occurred at roughly 5:42 a.m. and four victims were pronounced dead at the scene.”
“This is the second mass shooting Chicago has seen in the last four days” ABC affiliate WLS adds. “A 29-year-old mother of three was killed in a Chatham shooting that left nine others hurt on Saturday morning.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot “blamed illegal guns for the mass shooting, and said the city needs federal help to help stem the flow of violence. Lightfoot said the White House reached out early Tuesday to offer assistance.”
According to the Gun Violence Archive there have been 275 mass shootings this year. 19,920 people have been killed by guns this year, including by suicide.
This is a breaking news and developing story.
‘Guns Apocalypse’: Legal Experts Deliver Warnings After Supreme Court Decides to Take Up Big Second Amendment Case
Could Make It ‘Easier to Have a Gun Than a Car’
Legal experts are issuing warnings after the U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday it will take up a major Second Amendment case, its first in a decade – and warning of a “guns apocalypse” given the extremely conservative makeup of the Court.
“This case is likely to pave the way to the Supreme Court declaring a constitutional right to concealed public carry, overriding many state and local restrictions on the ability to bear concealed arms in public,” Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern writes.
In theory what that might mean is not only an explosion of people carrying guns, but people carrying guns that you cannot see – until it’s too late. It quite literally is the Republican Party’s dream.
Vox’s Ian Millhiser warns “The Supreme Court guns apocalypse is now upon us.”
The case is New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Corlett. Millhiser says the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case, which would come in about a year from now, “could transform the judiciary’s understanding of the Second Amendment and lay waste to many of the nation’s gun laws.”
In short, he says, it “could make the NRA’s dreams come true.”
The case, as Millhiser describes it, focuses on a 108-year old New York State law that requires anyone who wants a gun to obtain a permit, and to show “proper cause,” in other words, to prove they have a need for it. Someone “who merely wants to carry a gun, because of a general belief that it would be useful if they are ever the victim of a violent crime, cannot obtain a license.”
The Second Amendment has just 27 words: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
The 6-3 “Trump Court” is more than likely to strike down the New York law.
“Indeed,” Millhiser writes, “Corlett could potentially dismantle more than a decade of judicial decisions interpreting the Second Amendment, imposing prohibitive limits on lawmakers’ ability to reduce gun violence.”
To paraphrase Oprah, “And you get a gun, and you get a gun, and you get a gun.”
Here’s what some other legal experts are saying:
Former DOJ prosecutor:
Get ready to see exactly what a 6-3 Republican stacked supreme court means in this case that will decide whether or not people have a personal right to carry a concealed weapon in the city while walking around.https://t.co/dHqdA4rWDY
— Michael J. Stern (@MichaelJStern1) April 26, 2021
Law professor, Georgia State Law:
I have a bad feeling there’s going to be some truly atrocious 14th Amendment originalism about gun ownership and Reconstruction that will irk me for the next year.
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) April 26, 2021
Former US Attorney, now MSNBC/NBC Legal analyst and Law Professor:
Given the views of Trump’s justices, this case likely furthers the jurisprudence of making it easier to have a gun than a car, with no training, in an environment where mass shootings frequently take lives. So, not exactly the well regulated militia the 2nd Amendment envisions. https://t.co/4cpPJ286xp
— Joyce Alene (@JoyceWhiteVance) April 26, 2021
Slate’s Stern (quoted above), author of “American Justice 2019: The Roberts Court Arrives”:
Just last month, the conservative Judge Jay Bybee penned an extraordinary 127-page opinion canvassing the history of firearm laws and concluding that there is plainly no constitutional rights to public carry. Do not expect his view to prevail at SCOTUS. https://t.co/SuPl6w2tj3
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) April 26, 2021
Attorney, politics and law reporter at NY’s Fox5:
Next SCOTUS term could very well include major guns, abortion, and affirmative action cases that will end with decisions revealing the true legacy of Trump’s four years in office https://t.co/yPH4FvjEKR
— Mike Sacks (@MikeSacksEsq) April 26, 2021
NRA Snuffs Out Background Checks Bill as a ‘Non-Starter’ – and Falsely Claims Its ‘5 Million’ Members Agree
On the same day a group dedicated to protecting children from gun violence released a difficult-to-watch viral video, the top gun lobby group issued a statement insisting universal background checks legislation is a “non-starter.” The NRA also falsely claimed its “5 million members” oppose background checks too.
“This missive is a non-starter with the NRA and our 5 million members because it burdens law-abiding gun owners while ignoring what actually matters: fixing the broken mental health system and the prosecution of violent criminals,” Jason Ouimet, the executive director of the NRA’s activist arm, the Institute for Legislative Action, said, according to Politico.
The “missive” is a draft of a gun background check proposal the White House has begun circulating among lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
While House Democrats have sent several gun control and background check bills to the Senate, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has totally deferred to President Trump, as if he were the Senate Majority Leader. In fact, McConnell says he will not even consider any legislation until President Trump gives it his blessing.
Despite that President Trump more than a month ago promised America he would sign a background check bill, as usual he caved when the NRA came calling. He then started claiming – falsely – that mental health, not easy access to guns, is the real problem.
The NRA has the exact same position, as they noted today.
Meanwhile, polls show that “83 percent of gun owners support expanded background checks on sales of all firearms, including 72 percent of all NRA members.”
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