After the government ordered an Austin man to take the design files of a 3-D printed gun off the Internet, his nonprofit, Defense Distributed, as well as the Second Amendment Foundation, sued the State Department.
Now, the government settled and said the files can shared online.
The man’s lawyers claim it a First Amendment victory, not Second Amendment.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deems it legal to build a firearm without a license. But, the weapon can only be for personal use.
Anyone wanting to sell or distribute a homemade gun would need a license to manufacture firearms.
Gun control advocates fear that the technology could end up in the wrong hands.
Gun law expert Emily Taylor said that bad people will break laws to get a gun, in person or online, and then will break laws once they have the firearm.
“Obtaining one illegally. If they’re willing to break a law to get one, they’re going to break a law to get one, regardless of whether or not they’re printing it themselves or buying it off the black market,” said Taylor.
She added that second amendment rights supporters might not want 3D guns because they have a tendency to jam. Once that kink works out, they should function like any manufacturer made gun.
Taylor said 3D printed guns are fundamentally similar to manufacture made guns.
She said these “ghost guns” are 80 percent receivers, you punch out the remaining 20 percent metal to make it your own gun, ordered off the Internet have been legal forever. It's the same idea of having firearms the government knows nothing about.
But, the laws don’t stop the bad guys.
“If you’re a convicted felon and you can’t go out and buy a gun, it’s also going to be against the law for you to print your own gun,” said Taylor.
Once you own an unmarked, unregistered firearm that doesn't have a serial number, you cannot resale it. They're totally unsellable.
“Once you have a firearm in your possession with no serial number, it is yours forever, you have to die with it,” said Taylor.
She said you should know once you see a 3D gun without a serial number and someone is trying to sell it to you, that you cannot purchase it.
3D printers are still so uncommon to general population.
A few public libraries and schools have 3D printers as they become less expensive.
Come August 1st, anyone will be able to download the 3-D printable gun blueprints files.