U.S. judge blocks release of gun blueprints for 3-D printing

(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Tuesday halted online distribution of gun blueprints for 3-D printing, issuing an order blocking a settlement the Trump administration had reached with the company which planned to put the plans online.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle, Washington said the blueprint's publication could cause irreparable harm to U.S. citizens.

Eight states and the District of Columbia on Monday filed a lawsuit against the federal government, claiming it acted arbitrarily in reaching a June settlement with Austin, Texas-based Defense Distributed to allow the nonprofit group to legally publish gun blueprints online.

Defense Distributed on its website originally said it would begin publishing the blueprints on Wednesday, but design files for seven guns were already posted on Friday.

The publication of those files is now illegal under federal law, Lasnik said.

"There are 3-D printers in public colleges and public spaces and there is the likelihood of potential irreparable harm," Lasnik said at the end of a one-hour hearing on the lawsuit.

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(Reporting by Tina Bellon Editing by James Dalgleish)