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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219


For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


~ Herring previously won a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s dangerous plan to make 3D-printed guns more widely available ~

RICHMOND (January 24, 2020) – Attorney General Mark R. Herring has filed suit challenging the Trump Administration’s latest efforts to allow 3D-printed gun files to be released on the internet. These files would allow plug-and-play access to 3D-print unregistered, untraceable firearms that can also be very difficult to detect, even with a metal detector. These types of untraceable firearms are sometimes also called “ghost guns”. Attorney General Herring joined a coalition of 21 attorneys general in filing this lawsuit.


Previously, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues won a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump Administration’s prior attempt to allow the release of the files. Now, the administration has embarked on a new effort by pursuing formal rules. Those rules were finalized yesterday.


“My colleagues and I have already blocked the Trump Administration’s reckless plan to make 3D-printed guns more widely available once and we plan to do it again,” said Attorney General Herring. “These ‘ghost guns’ are extremely dangerous and can sometimes be virtually impossible to detect. I will continue to fight to keep our communities safe and keep all types of firearms out of the hands of dangerous individuals.”


Attorney General Herring and the coalition filed a federal lawsuit yesterday in Seattle in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, arguing those rules are unlawful for many of the same reasons as the Trump Administration’s previous attempt.


The lawsuit asserts that the Trump Administration still has not offered evidence supporting their about-face on the risks of allowing unregulated access to firearms worldwide, making the rule arbitrary and capricious, in violation of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA). In fact, the administration agrees that regulation is needed, even though its new regulations are toothless and will not prevent the global dissemination of 3D-printed guns.


In providing public notice of the rule, the administration mentioned other changes to regulations for small firearms, but not the changes to 3D-printed guns. That failure to provide meaningful public notice also violates the APA.


3D-printed guns could be undetectable by metal detectors, untraceable because of a lack of a serial number, and sought out by criminals and domestic abusers who cannot legally possess a firearm or pass a background check. The company that wants to distribute the plans online does not require proof of age or proof of eligibility before allowing a customer to download the plans.


Joining Attorney General Herring in filing the lawsuit are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and the District of Columbia.


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