The “Pirate Bay of 3D printing” has shut itself down for now. DEFCAD is one of the best site to find files for 3D printed gun parts. It has been closed on an order from a US federal judge. Everything on the site is now a notice of the judge’s order and a request for visitors to join the site’s legal struggle against the injunction. The site was run by an open-source organization Defense Distributed, and it has just reached a settlement with the State Department. The government was challenging DEFCAD under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations. It claims that the company was allowing the transfer of weapons of war overseas. State Department’s opinion on the matter also appears to have changed.
The US was about to legalise the online distribution of a 3D printing blueprint for a handgun, but a judge has just blocked the action because several states sued. Massachusetts was among them. Maura Healey, top lawyer for the state, gives her reaction. pic.twitter.com/J7cDV95jlN
— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) August 1, 2018
The settlement raised the ire of attorney generals in eight states. Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The AGs claimed in a statement that the settlement was giving “criminals and terrorists access to downloadable, untraceable, and undetectable 3D-printed weapons.” The AGs have asked the US District Judge Robert Lasnik for DEFCAD to be targeted with a temporary restraining order. Judge Lasnik agreed and said, “Against this hardship is a delay in lifting regulatory restrictions to which Defense Distributed has been subject for over five years: the balance of hardships and the public interest tip sharply in plaintiffs’ favor.”
In an interview AG Maura Healey called it, “the first step”, noting that the parties are due back in court on August 10. She called on congress to pass a law against these gun sites. Defense Distributed plans to charge ahead with a case based on the First Amendment. The idea of 3D printing guns at home is an issue even though it is only another shade of the American tradition of hobbyists building and assembling their own weapons at home. This is something which is bound to continue whether or not the 3D printed firearm website wins their struggle in the courts.