The so-called “Pirate Bay of 3D printing” has shut itself down—for now.
DEFCAD, perhaps the best-known site to find the files for 3D-printed gun parts, has complied with an order from a federal judge and gone dark this morning. All that remains on the site is a notice of the judge’s order and a request for visitors to join the site’s legal struggle against this injunction.
The site, run by the open-source organization Defense Distributed, had just reached a settlement with the State Department. Originally, the government was challenging DEFCAD under what’s known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, claiming that DEFCAD was allowing the transfer of weapons of war overseas. State Department’s opinion on the matter appeared to have changed.
But the settlement raised the ire of attorneys general in eight states: Washington, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. The AGs claimed in a statement that the settlement was giving “criminals and terrorists access to downloadable, untraceable, and undetectable 3D-printed weapons.”
The AGs asked U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik for DEFCAD to be targeted with a temporary restraining order. Judge Lasnik agreed. “Against this hardship is a delay in lifting regulatory restrictions to which Defense Distributed has been subject for over five years: the balance of hardships and the public interest tip sharply in plaintiffs’ favor,” Lasnik writes in his order.
The AGs are claiming a victory. In an interview with the BBC, Massachusetts AG Maura Healey called it “the first step,” noting that the parties are due back in court on August 10. She also called on Congress to pass a law against such gun files.
The US was about to legalise the online distribution of a 3D printing blueprint for a handgun, but a judge has just blocked the action because several states sued. Massachusetts was among them. Maura Healey, top lawyer for the state, gives her reaction. pic.twitter.com/J7cDV95jlN
— BBC World Service (@bbcworldservice) August 1, 2018
As we noted yesterday, Defense Distributed is charging ahead with a case base on the First Amendment. The idea of 3D printing guns at home is an issue that’s been percolating for years now, though it’s really just another shade of the longstanding American tradition of hobbyists building and assembling their own weapons at home—something that will continue whether or not 3D-printed firearms will their struggles in the courts.
Previously published by: Popular Mechanics USA