The government will allow gun-rights activists to post plans for 3-D printable guns, beginning Aug. 1, CNN reported.
The settlement marks the end of a legal battle that began when Cody Wilson posted plans for a 3-D printed handgun in 2013 called "The Liberator." That single-shot pistol was made almost completely out of ABS plastic, the same material used to make Lego bricks. The only metal parts were a firing pin and a piece of metal that was included to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act, the report said.
The State Department had told Wilson and his nonprofit group, Defense Distributed, to take down the plans, because officials said that someone in a country that the U.S. does not sell weapons to could make their own guns. However, by the time Wilson took the plans offline, they had already been downloaded a million times, CNN reported.
"We asked for the moon and we figured the government would reject it, but they didn't want to go to trial . . . the government fought us all the way and then all of a sudden folded their tent," said Alan M. Gottlieb of the Second Amendment Foundation, the report said.
"Not only is this a First Amendment victory for free speech, it also is a devastating blow to the gun prohibition lobby," said Gottlieb, The New York Times reported.
Wilson's attorney, Josh Blackman, said the government settled because it would have lost the case.
"If the government litigated this case and they lost, this decision could be used to challenge other kinds of gun control laws," Blackman said, CNN reported.
The website for The Liberator's plans also will include digital files for an AR-15 lower receiver, a complete Baretta M9 handgun, and other firearms. Users will also be able to share their own gun designs, the report said.
Wilson pointed out it remains impractical for most people to 3-D print guns.
"It's still out of reach for them . . . the plans will be here when that moment comes," Wilson said.
Due to the expense, only wealthy criminal cartels will be able to create the guns, said Avery Gardiner, the co-president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
"The people who make them will be state actors or well-financed criminal cartels who have the ability to execute well-organized criminal attacks in the United States and elsewhere," Gardiner said, CNN reported.
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