So Can I 3D Print a Gun, or What?

A few weeks ago, the Department of Defense settled its legal battle with the designer of 3D-printed firearms, allowing the company to re-release its CAD files to the public. That announcement sent state lawmakers scrambling in an effort to keep 3D-printed guns off the market. Eight states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit against the federal government (11 more states have since joined that lawsuit), and last week a federal judge blocked the publication of those blueprints.

According to Defense Distributed, the company who originally created a published the 3D plans, the blueprints had already been downloaded more than 400,000 times before they were removed for the first time in 2013, and while the company had re-uploaded the files to its site prior to the judge's ruling, it has since blocked access to comply with the court order.

So, what does all this mean for you, the person who wants to 3D print a gun?

Gunned Down

"Regardless of what a person may be able to publish on the Internet," the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action executive director Chris Cox asserts, "undetectable plastic guns have been illegal for 30 years." In order to comply with this law, blueprints for 3D-printed guns still require a metal firing pin and a six-ounce piece of steel to enable metal detectors to spot the guns.

Plans for plastic guns also lack critical components, like bolts, barrels, stocks, or other parts, so they're not firing live rounds hot off the 3D press. Additionally, California required that all 3D-printed guns be registered two years ago, and other states may have followed suit -- so even if you manage to print and assemble a gun, you'll probably need to register it like any other firearm.

All the Guns That Are Fit to Print

Currently, Defense Distributed's website relating to its "Liberator" 3D-printable gun reads: "This site, after legally committing its files to the public domain through a license from the U.S. Department of State, has been ordered shut down by a federal judge in the Western District of Washington." So, unless you downloaded the files pre-2013, snagged them in the short time between the settlement and the new injunction, or don't want to go elsewhere on the internet for the plans, you'll just have to wait on your 3D-printed gun until courts can balance the First and Second Amendment issues with the public safety concerns.

"There are 3-D printers in public colleges and public spaces and there is the likelihood of potential irreparable harm," U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik wrote last week, temporarily making publication of 3D gun printing files illegal under federal law. And you surely can't sell those guns, even if you can manage to make one.

By Christopher Coble, Esq.

Las Vegas Shooting Venue Owner Sues Victims to Avoid Mass Shooting Liability

By Christopher Coble, Esq. on July 17, 2018 2:05 PM


Normally after a mass shooting (and how awful is it that there is a 'normally' attached to 'mass shooting'), victims and their families are the ones that file lawsuits-- against the shooter, the gun-maker, the police, or the owner of the location. But in the wake of the horrific shooting at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas last year, the tables appear to have been turned.

MGM Resorts International, which owns Mandalay Bay and the concert venue where the victims were gunned down, has filed federal lawsuitsasking judges to declare the resort company free from any liability in the shooting. Why the reversal?

Federal Terrorism Protection

While the lawsuits are technically filed against over 1,000 shooting victims, MGM is not seeking any damages. Instead, the company is asking federal judges to declare it immune from lawsuits under a 2002 statute that provides liability protection to companies that use "anti-terrorism" technology or services that can "help prevent and respond to mass violence."

MGM hired Contemporary Services Corporation to provide security for the Route 91 Harvest festival, and is arguing that, because the company's services had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security for "protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction," that immunity should extend to MGM and its subsidiaries.

Incompetence and Immunity

It does seem ironic that the MGM is using its employment of an ultimately ineffective security company as a way to preemptively block victims' lawsuits and avoid liability. Stephen Paddock stayed at the Mandalay Bay resort for several days before he opened fire on festivalgoers last October, killing 58 people and wounding hundreds more.

The suits filed by MGM name over 800 defendants in California, and more than 200 in Nevada, many of whom have threatened to sue or have already filed injury or wrongful death lawsuits against the company in state court. "No MGM Party attempted to commit, knowingly participated in, aided, abetted, committed, or participated in any conspiracy to commit any act of terrorism," the federal lawsuits claim.

If successful, MGM could bar any current or future litigation based on the shooting. "The Federal Court is an appropriate venue for these cases and provides those affected with the opportunity for a timely resolution," a spokesperson for the company said in a statement. "Years of drawn out litigation and hearings are not in the best interest of victims, the community and those still healing."

But Las Vegas attorney Robert Eglet, who has represented several of the victims, called the legal maneuvering a "blatant display of judge shopping" that "quite frankly verges on unethical." "I've never seen a more outrageous thing, where they sue the victims in an effort to find a judge they like," he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "It's just really sad that they would stoop to this level."