Judge blocks release of 3D-printed gun plans

WASHINGTON – A federal judge in Seattle has issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns.

Eight Democratic attorneys general filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government's settlement with the company that makes the plans available online. They also sought a restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik issued the order Tuesday afternoon.

The company behind the plans, Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, had reached a settlement with the federal government in June that allows it to make the plans for the guns available for download on Wednesday.

The restraining order puts that plan on hold for now.

In the meantime, Congressional Democrats have urged President Trump to reverse the decision to let Defense Distributed publish the plans. 

Trump said Tuesday that he's "looking into" the idea, saying making 3D plastic guns available to the public "doesn't seem to make much sense!"

The National Rifle Association did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Some experts say it would be difficult for criminals to make and use these 3D printed weapons because the materials -- and the printer itself -- would be so expensive.

James McGee is an application developer at the University of Houston who has extensive experience with various 3D printers.

"You can get 3D printers for as cheap as a few hundred dollars, but they won't do a very good job or use a very good material maybe for the purpose of printing a gun. But, you know, if you spend several thousand, you might get something where you could print a working model,” McGee said.