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MI Groups Fight Imminent Release of Blueprints For 3-D Printed Guns

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Blueprints for a plastic pistol are set to be released online Wednesday, a move opposed by gun-violence prevention groups. (JustinPickard/Flickr)
Blueprints for a plastic pistol are set to be released online Wednesday, a move opposed by gun-violence prevention groups. (JustinPickard/Flickr)
 By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - MI - Producer, Contact
July 30, 2018

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan gun-violence prevention groups have signed onto a letter demanding that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo block online publication - set for this Wednesday - of instructions for how to make a plastic gun using a 3-D printer.

For the past five years, the State Department fought plans by a Texas company called Defense Distributed to put the blueprints online. But the Trump administration reversed course and settled a few weeks ago, clearing the way for publication on August 1.

Linda Brundage, executive director of the Michigan Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence, called the settlement an outrage, especially in a state such as Michigan, where gun deaths outnumber those from car accidents.

"This absolutely must be stopped,” Brundage said. “There is no way to trace these guns. They go through any and all scanners. This will be just disastrous for the American public."

On Friday, a federal judge in Texas refused to block the settlement, prompting a coalition of 50 gun-violence prevention groups from across the country to fire off the letter calling on Pompeo to intervene.

Cody Wilson, founder of Defense Distributed, is a self-described anarchist who said he aims to flood the country with so many guns - including AR-15 semi-automatics - that all gun laws become irrelevant. It already is legal in the U.S. to build a gun at home, unless you are legally barred from owning one.

Brundage said that doesn't mean we should just shrug and let this company open up a whole new era of untraceable "ghost guns".

"Because we can't do everything, we should do nothing?” she questioned. “If this 3-D printing atrocity goes through, we're really going to have a wild, wild West, and we're not even going to know it until someone dies."

More than 1,200 Michiganders died as the result of gun violence in 2016, the most recent year statistics are available. Gun-violence prevention groups in the state are pushing for universal background checks, child-access prevention legislation, a ban on assault weapons and a so-called "red flag" bill to allow police to confiscate guns temporarily if someone behaves in a threatening manner.

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