3D-printed gun plans go online as Defense Distributed defies court order

They’re back online.

Marrian Zhou Staff Reporter
Marrian Zhou is a Beijing-born Californian living in New York City. She joined CNET as a staff reporter upon graduation from Columbia Journalism School. When Marrian is not reporting, she is probably binge watching, playing saxophone or eating hot pot.
Marrian Zhou
3 min read
Screenshot by MarrianZhou/CNET

The controversy over blueprints for 3D-printed guns may be coming to head after the company that created the plans sought to put them online despite a court order banning the move. 

On Tuesday, Defense Distributed made its plans available online for purchase at a suggested retail price of $10, which means that you can offer $0.01 and still purchase it. The company previously offered the plans for free.


The design files of 3D printed gun parts are sold at a suggested price of $10 each, but you can set your own price, even at $0.01.

Screenshot by Marrian Zhou/CNET

The move comes just a day after a Seattle judge granted a preliminary injunction to 19 state attorneys general who'd sought to block Defense Distributed. The case is part of a broader battle involving public safety, freedom of speech and the right to bear arms.

The injunction banned the online distribution of the plans until the case is settled in court.

Defense Distributed has already received nearly 400 orders since this morning, according to the Associated Press.

"I trust the federal government will hold Cody Wilson, a self-described 'crypto-anarchist,' accountable to that law," said Bob Ferguson, attorney general of Washington State and one of the 19 plaintiffs, in an email statement. "If they don't, President Trump will be responsible for anyone who is hurt or killed as a result of these weapons."

Blueprints for 3D-printed gun parts have caused a stir. The plastic parts can make a gun untraceable and undetectable because they don't have serial numbers and they aren't subject to the standard procedures that cover regular firearms. Anyone with a computer can buy the design files from Defense Distributed and print them out using a 3D printer.

Defense Distributed argues that publication of the blueprints should be allowed on free speech grounds, but the federal judge sided with those concerned about public safety. 

"The court permitted the email, mail, sale and other transfers of the files," said Cody Wilson, the owner of Defense Distributed, in an email statement. "I will follow the judge's order."

"No one's even disputing that I can sell you the file or that I can just give it to you. So when the judge makes his ruling on Monday, all I'm going to do is show what I've been developing in secret for the past few weeks. I'm just going to start selling the files on my site instead of letting you download them. It's like, whoa, it's gonna blow them the fuck out, […] they don't even have a framework for understanding," Wilson told Bitcoin.com Podcast Network.

It's unclear how the court will react to the company's actions Tuesday and if it's legal to sell these design files instead of simply giving them away.

Federal Judge Robert Lasnik didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Defense Distributed appears to be limiting where you can make a purchase. The site identifies "blue states" -- a US state that predominantly vote for the Democratic Party, mostly on the East and West Coasts, and will stop you from making a purchase. CNET reporters in California and New York tried to sign up to buy the 3D-printed gun blueprints but instead were told they were "behind the blue wall."

"Your masters say you can't be trusted with this information," the company wrote on its site. "Sorry, little lamb."


Defense Distributed blocks potential buyers living in the "blue states."

Screenshot by Sean Hollister/CNET

CNET's Sean Hollister contributed to this report. 

First published on August 28, 10:38 a.m. PT.

Updates, 12:03 p.m. PT: Adds Attorney General Bob Ferguson and owner of Defense Distributed Cody Wilson statements, as well as information about the company blocking users living in the "blue states."

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