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Judge blocks release of blueprints for 3D-printed guns

SEATTLE — A federal judge in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D-printed plastic guns, saying they could end up in the wrong hands.

The company behind the plans, Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed, had reached a settlement with the federal government in June that allows it to make the plans for the guns available for download on Wednesday.

The restraining order from U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik puts that plan on hold for now.

"There is a possibility of irreparable harm because of the way these guns can be made," he said.

Eight Democratic attorneys general had filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to block the federal government's settlement with Defense Distributed. They also sought the restraining order, arguing the 3D guns would be a safety risk.

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Congressional Democrats have urged President Donald Trump to reverse the decision to let Defense Distributed publish the plans. Trump said Tuesday that he's "looking into" the idea, saying making 3D plastic guns available to the public "doesn't seem to make much sense!"

Trump tweeted that he has already spoken with the National Rifle Association about the downloadable directions a Texas company wants to provide for people to make 3D-printed guns. The guns are made of a hard plastic and are simple to assemble, easy to conceal and difficult to trace.

At a news conference Tuesday, Democratic senators said Trump has the power to stop the company from making the plans available online. The company's website says downloads have been posted on the site since Friday. A lawyer for the company said he doesn't know how many blueprints have been downloaded since then.

Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey said Trump frequently boasts that he alone can fix problems afflicting the country.

"Well, fix this deadly mistake that once again your administration has made," Markey said in a remark directed at the president. If he fails to act, "Donald Trump will be totally responsible for every downloadable, plastic AR-15 (gun) that will be roaming the streets of our country."

Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal was more graphic, saying that if Trump does not block sale of the 3D guns, "Blood is going to be on his hands."

The NRA did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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