A Texas-based group that a U.S. federal judge had barred from issuing blueprints for 3-D-printed plastic guns on the internet said Tuesday that it had made the firearm designs available for sale.
Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, said at a news conference in Austin, Texas, that he would sell the files and ship them to buyers on a flash drive.
"Today, I want to clarify: Anyone who wants these files will get them," Wilson said. "I'll sell them. I'll ship them."
The files could previously be downloaded for free, but U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle, Washington, on Monday issued a nationwide injunction that blocked online distribution of 3-D-printed-gun files.
Josh Blackman, a lawyer for Wilson, said in a statement Tuesday that the court expressly allowed Wilson to mail files.
Lasnik did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Monday's decision blocked a settlement between the Trump administration and Defense Distributed, which argued that the U.S. Constitution guaranteed access to the online blueprints under the First Amendment right to free speech and the Second Amendment right to bear arms.
"Wilson is trying to push the boundaries over what the U.S. Constitution protects, and the court will have to clarify whether the injunction goes far enough to cover flash drives," said Timothy Lytton, a law professor at Georgia State University who has written a book on gun litigation.
Version of AR-15
Files available on Defense Distributed's website included blueprints of components for a version of the AR-15 semiautomatic assault weapon, used in several U.S. mass shootings. They were available for purchase at a suggested price of $10 each.
A group of 19 U.S. states and the District of Columbia sued the U.S. government in July, arguing that publishing the blueprints would allow criminals easy access to weapons. They said the Trump administration had failed to explain why it settled the case.
"We knew this fight wouldn't end with yesterday's court order, and this is just the latest attempt by Cody Wilson to put his own selfish, asinine interests ahead of public safety," said Avery Gardiner, co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, one of the gun control advocacy groups opposing the blueprints as part of the litigation.
Gardiner in a statement said his group would continue to work with state attorneys general to prevent access to the files, but declined to comment on whether the group would take additional legal steps.
The U.S. State Department, which had previously banned the blueprints as a national security risk and a violation of arms trafficking regulations, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
Gun control proponents are concerned the weapons made from 3-D printers will be untraceable, undetectable "ghost" firearms that threaten global security. Some gun rights groups say the technology is expensive, the guns unreliable and the threat overblown. They also say undetectable guns wholly made of plastic are illegal in the United States.