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Nessel joins coalition arguing for right to enforce state laws against 3D-printed gun company

AG Dana Nessel
Posted at 4:06 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 16:06:16-05

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has joined a coalition of attorneys general in fighting a lawsuit that seeks to stop states from enforcing their laws against a company disseminating 3D-printed gun files on the internet.

The coalition says it wants to protect states’ efforts to stop Defense Distributed from unlawfully publishing easily-downloadable internet files that provide instructions on how to build the firearms, including assault weapons, according to a news release Friday.

“Despite law enforcement efforts, Defense Distributed continues to recklessly, and illegally, make 3D-printed firearms easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection,” Nessel said. “These so-called ‘ghost guns’ are unregistered and untraceable, making them especially dangerous. States must have the ability to enforce our own laws and use the tools at our disposal to fight back against these illegal efforts in order to protect our communities.”

The 3D-printed firearms are difficult to detect – even with metal detectors.

A number of state and local officials sent the company cease and desist letters ordering the company to stop breaking state laws.

Defense Distributed then sued the officials in federal court in Texas, but ultimately only pursued its case against New Jersey’s attorney general.

In an amicus brief, the coalition argues that cease and desist letters are critical and cost-effective tools for enforcing state law and, in the internet age, state and local officials increasingly need to direct these letters out of their jurisdictions.

Because Defense Distributed operates online and across state lines, state officials need to be able to send cease and desist letters out of state, the coalition says.

Read the full amicus brief here.