In a rare rebuke of the NRA, Trump says controversial 3-D printed guns 'don't make much sense'

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  • President Donald Trump questioned the legality of 3-D printable plastic guns in a Tuesday morning tweet.
  • “I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” he wrote.
  • In June, his administration settled a federal government objection against Texas company Defence Distributed, which will allow them to start publishing blueprints for 3-D printable guns on Wednesday.

In a rare break with the gun industry, President Donald Trump publicly pushed back on the proliferation of 3-D printed guns.

“I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn’t seem to make much sense!” he said in a Tuesday morning tweet.

The National Rifle Association has publicly supported the legality of 3-D printable guns, with spokeswoman Dana Loesch calling them a form of “freedom and innovation” in a July 23 video.

In 2013, the NRA also spoke out against a proposed amendment to the Undetectable Firearms Act, which would have prohibited the manufacturing of guns that cannot be picked up by standard metal detectors.

Trump’s statement sparked some confusion, as it was a decision by his State Department that allows companies to release blueprints for 3-D printable guns.

In June, the Trump administration dropped a federal government objection to Texas-based company Defence Distributed publicly releasing downloadable blueprints for 3-D printable plastic guns, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world and are virtually untraceable.

In response to Trump’s tweet, Democratic majority leader Chuck Schumer of New York wrote, “Your administration approved this. What kind of incompetence and dangerous governing is this? And to check with the NRA? Holy moly.”

The State Department under the Obama administration originally blocked Defence Distributed from publishing the blueprints online, citing laws against trafficking certain weapons technology overseas.

When Defence Distributed challenged the Obama administration in 2015, a federal judge ruled against them, writing that “facilitating global access to firearms undoubtedly increases the possibility of outbreak or escalation of conflict.”

Defence Distributed announced they will begin publishing the blueprints for plastic handguns and even assault-style weapons at midnight on Wednesday.

On Monday, attorneys general from eight states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration in an effort to block the blueprints from being published. Additionally, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida and Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island have each announced plans to introduce legislation to ban 3-D printed guns.

“I have a question for the Trump Administration: Why are you allowing dangerous criminals easy access to weapons?” wrote Washington attorney general Bob Ferguson, who is leading the lawsuit.

“These downloadable guns are unregistered and very difficult to detect, even with metal detectors, and will be available to anyone regardless of age, mental health or criminal history,” he said. “If the Trump Administration won’t keep us safe, we will.”

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