Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller is objecting to a Trump administration legal settlement that would allow a Texas group to move forward with publishing technical plans for 3D printed guns.
Miller intends to join a lawsuit filed in Washington state seeking to block publications of the plans, which is slated to begin Wednesday. He also joined 20 other attorneys general in a letter to the Trump administration saying the settlement and new federal rules that touch on the dispute are “deeply dangerous and could have an unprecedented impact on public safety.”
The prospect of 3D printed plastic guns has alarmed some gun control advocates and others.
In an email Tuesday, Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, said they are concerned publishing the blueprints will enable the production of weapons that are “untraceable and undetectable by magnetometers in places such as airports, government buildings and schools.”
A Texas-based group called Defense Distributed has been seeking to publish the plans for years.
The Obama administration sought to block publication on the internet of some of the files in 2013, arguing it would endanger national security by allowing anyone with access to a 3D printer to make undetectable guns.
The federal Arms Export Control Act authorizes the government to control the export of certain defense articles and materials.
Defense Distributed objected, saying the administration was infringing on its free speech rights.
Earlier this year, the Trump administration settled the case. It also published new rules related to the export of firearms.
Gun rights groups have complained over the years existing rules are overly broad.
In the letter Monday to the Justice and State departments, the attorneys generals said the result wold be “unrestricted access, domestically and abroad, to large amounts of technical data that had previously been regulated to promote serious national security interests.”
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Defense Distributed and its owner Cody Wilson have vowed to fight attempts to stop publication. Wilson tweeted on Tuesday he would fight the lawsuit in Washington state, and he published a letter from his attorney saying “this case implicates foundational principles of free speech.”
The letter adds that the lawsuit, which is being led by the attorney general in Washington, also seeks to infringe on the rights of all Americans to the technical information.
President Donald Trump also weighed in on the issue Tuesday. In a tweet, he said, “I am looking into 3D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!”