"As has been widely reported, a company called Defense Distributed has been embroiled in a multi-year legal battle related to its online dissemination of computer files for 3D printing of non-metallic firearms. These files contain code that ostensibly allows for the automatic generation of plastic firearms and components by anyone with access to a 3D printer. On August 27, 2018, a federal court in Seattle granted a preliminary order or injunction that blocks the government from allowing Defense Distributed to disseminate the files on the Internet for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, shortly after entry of the order, the company expressed its intention to sell the blueprints online and ship them to individual purchasers, which it views as permissible under the court's ruling. In light of these developments, this Sidebar addresses the various legal questions that have arisen with respect to the recent litigation over 3D printed guns by providing an overview of the issues and developments that have culminated in the injunction."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10195