Durbin Joins Colleagues In Calling On State Department To Reconsider Dangerous 3D Gun Settlement

Beginning today, settlement would allow downloadable firearms blueprints to be posted online for unlimited distribution to anyone, including terrorists and criminals

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) today joined his colleagues in calling on the State Department to prevent the publication of online blueprints for untraceable, three-dimensional (3D) printable firearms.  In a stunning reversal of course last month, the State Department and the Justice Department agreed to a settlement with Defense Distributed that would allow anyone, including criminals and even terrorists, to download blueprints for the 3D printing of firearms like the AR-15 used in the Parkland, Florida shooting.  The government previously argued Defense Distributed had violated federal export controls by posting to the internet its blueprints for 3D printable firearms.  In their letter, the Senators call on Secretary of State Pompeo to suspend the special treatment given to Defense Distributed while the State Department undertakes this review. 

“We are concerned about the immediate impact of publishing these 3-D gun blueprints: Once the State Department allows them to circulate freely online, the threats to U.S. and international security will be irreversibly increased,” wrote the Senators in their letter to Secretary Pompeo.  “The American people have a right to know why their government agreed to such a dangerous outcome.”

In their letter, the Senators ask for response to questions that include:

  • Does the State Department no longer believe that the online publication of blueprints for the 3D printing of firearms is a violation of federal export controls?
  • What analysis, if any, did the State and Commerce Departments undertake to evaluate the potential risks of proposed rules changes on export controls on the online publication of blueprints for 3D printed firearms?
  • Given the risks of the government abdicating control over the online publication of blueprints for 3D printed firearms, why did the State Department agree to move forward with the rulemaking?
  • What government funding source was used to pay the nearly $40,000 in the plaintiffs’ legal fees?

Along with Durbin, the letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).

A copy of the Senators’ letter can be found here.