HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — The attorney general of Connecticut, a state that last year placed strict limitations on “ghost guns,” announced Wednesday that his office will join 20 other states in suing the federal government to prevent the release of 3D-printed gun files online.
Democrat William Tong said the federal lawsuit will be filed once Republican Donald Trump’s administration publishes new rules that would transfer federal regulation of 3D-printed guns and other weapons, a move he contends would effectively allow for “unlimited distribution” of unregistered, untraceable and undetectable guns.
The lawsuit is being led by Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, also a Democrat, who first announced the planned legal action Monday.
“Release of these 3D-printed gun files would allow for the creation and proliferation of 3D-printed guns across Connecticut and across the country, which are able to bypass metal detectors and background checks safeguards,” Tong said of the weapons, which are typically all or mostly made of plastic.
Jeremy Stein, executive director of Connecticut Against Gun Violence, said police in Connecticut are coming across 3D guns.
“This is what has to be stopped in Connecticut and the rest of the country,” he said. “We cannot have these things in the hands of people who are going to be a danger to to our families, to themselves and others.”
Connecticut was part of a previous multi-state lawsuit filed in 2018 against the Trump administration over its decision to allow a Texas company, Defense Distributed, to publish downloadable blueprints for a 3D-printed gun. The federal government ultimately lost that lawsuit and the administration is now attempting to transfer regulation from the State Department to the Department of Commerce.
Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, predicted the states’ planned lawsuit will ultimately be unsuccessful this time. He argued that the states don’t have legal standing to challenge the federal rule change, speculating they are “hoping for some kind of foothold” and maybe outlast Trump.
“I don’t think they expect to win this one,” he said. “I think it’s just good politics. I get why they’re doing it.”