WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said Tuesday he's "looking into" easy access to blueprints for 3D-printable guns, saying in a tweet that "doesn't seem to make much sense."
Trump's tweet comes less than 24 hours before that technology becomes widely available under a legal settlement his own administration reached earlier this year with Defense Distributed, a Texas-based nonprofit that will release blueprints for guns online starting Wednesday.
"The age of the downloadable gun begins," Defense Distributed stated on its site after its settlement with the State Department. Its founder, Cody Wilson, tweeted a photograph of a grave marked "American gun control."
Under the legal agreement, the company will be able to post downloadable instructions for 3D-printable guns starting Wednesday, making such firearms available to anyone with the right machine and materials. All 3D-printed guns will be untraceable, and since you can make them yourself, no background check is required.
That prospect has startled gun control advocates, who say it could worsen the epidemic of gun violence in the U.S. and make it easier for terrorists to gain access to a raft of deadly firearms. Eight states and the District of Columbia sued the Trump administration on Monday seeking to block the 3D-printed weapons from becoming available.
“The Trump Administration’s sickening NRA giveaway undermines the very foundations of public safety," House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday. "Metal detectors and other security measures will be completely useless against the flood of undetectable and untraceable ‘ghost guns’ that the GOP is inviting into our schools, workplaces, airports and public buildings."
In his tweet, Trump said he had already talked to the NRA about the issue. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about what steps, if any, the president was considering.
An NRA spokesperson also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested last week that he would review the issue, in response to questions from lawmakers on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
But a State Department official said Tuesday that Pompeo was not planning to take further action on the issue. The Department of State has completed its obligations under its settlement with Defense Distributed, said the official, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
"The decision to settle the case was made in the interest of the security and foreign policy of the United States and in consultation with the Department of Justice," the State Department source said.