Aug 23, 2018 - Technology

Amazon joins private companies in blocking access to 3D-printed gun blueprints

Daniel Southwick shows off a gun made by a 3D printer. Photo: Keith Beaty/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Amazon has removed downloadable plans for 3D-printed guns from its site, explaining the material violates its content guidelines, CNN reports.

The details: The Seattle-based e-commerce company said it removed the $20 book, "The Liberator Code Book: An Exercise in the Freedom of Speech," which appeared on its website earlier this month. But the author, CJ Awelow, is fighting back claiming that "code is speech," and and explains "proceeds will be used to fight for free speech and the right to bear arms."

The backdrop: Amazon's move comes on the heels of an ongoing multi-state court challenge against the Trump administration, which allowed Defense Distributed, a Texas-based pro-gun group, to publish the files online. The suit, led by Washington, said the undetectable 3D-printed firearms are a threat to public safety and that terrorists could use the plastic weapons to evade detection.

What's happening: As challengers are seeking a permanent nationwide injunction to block the public from downloading the blueprints, private companies like Amazon are making their own decisions.

  • Facebook earlier this month announced that websites hosting downloadable files for 3D-printed guns are prohibited from using its platform.
  • Some leading 3D-printing companies are using gun-blocking software to prevent people from printing guns, NPR reports.
  • Pennsylvania officials had won a temporary agreement last month to bar its residents from downloading the plans.

In response to Amazon’s move, Defense Distributed tweeted late Wednesday: "Sadly the book has been taken off of Amazons webstore. This is [once] again a huge blow to our first amendment. If you want change, act now."

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