11:35 GMT21 February 2020
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    The controversial issue of printing 3D guns and distributing their schematics online first emerged during the Obama administration, which had successfully barred the practice. But the ruling was reviewed in June 2018, with the ban being lifted.

    Following the recent ruling by a federal judge, who temporarily banned the posting of schematics for 3D guns online, a coalition of US gun rights activists called Code Is Free Speech began posting schematics for 3D-printed guns online, directly disobeying the court's decision. They claim that the court's ruling is in violation of the US Constitution, arguing that the publication of such information (e.g. schematics) is protected under the First Amendment.

    The group said in a statement that it wants to encourage people to consider new aspects of the "nation's marketplace of ideas," despite the government's attempts to block them from doing so.

    READ MORE: US Judge Blocks Online Publication of 3D-Printed Gun Schematics

    The US barred the open publication of 3D gun plans under the Obama administration on the basis that it violated federal export laws. Still, the company Defense Distributed, based in Texas, successfully challenged the decision in June 2018. However, the latest court ruling declares that until a final decision is made on the subject, the company must refrain from republishing its 3D gun plans.

    The controversy surrounding printable 3D guns is taking place amid fears that the new technology could facilitate new mass shootings, making guns more accessible and untraceable. Their opponents note that existing black markets for weapons already fulfill this purpose, while a personal 3D printer costs too much to function as a substitute.

    READ MORE: Fact Sheet: What is a 3D-Printed Gun Anyway?

    The US has seen a spate of mass shootings in 2018, with many of them taking place in schools, leading to numerous casualties. It has led to a growing number of gun control advocates in the country, demanding stricter laws, although the current administration opposes the idea.


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    3D printed guns, gun control, Defense Distributed, United States
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