Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a cease and desist letter on Tuesday to block residents in New York from downloading files that could be used to create guns with a 3-D printer.
The action, Cuomo said, would prevent any internet user with an IP address from New York from accessing files shared by Defense Distributed, a private defense firm in Texas. The firm plans to release files for public download Wednesday that would allow users with a 3-D printer to create and manufacture guns.
“The last thing we need now are people making guns in their own home that circumvent all laws, are untraceable, and are invisible,” Cuomo said on a conference call with reporters.
Cuomo’s announcement came after a coalition of state attorneys general, including New York’s Barbara Underwood, filed a lawsuit on Monday to permanently stop the files from Defense Distributed from being shared nationwide.
A federal judge is expected to consider a temporary restraining order later Tuesday to temporarily block Defense Distributed from distributing those files. Cuomo’s letter will only be needed if the judge denies the temporary restraining order.
Cuomo said if Defense Distributed does not comply with the cease and desist letter, the state would bring an additional legal action against the company to enforce compliance with the state’s gun laws, which are among the strictest in the country. The company did not respond to an inquiry about Cuomo’s letter.
“If a state chooses to allow this product to be distributed, I think they’re making a mistake,” Cuomo said. “That’s their business, but not in the state of New York.”
Cuomo is also seeking information from Defense Distributed on New York residents who have already downloaded plans to 3-D print a gun. Some users have already been able to download files from the company.
Information on those users allows the state to identify people who may have plans to print a gun that violate the state’s gun laws. One file, for example, allows a user to 3-D print an AR-15, a gun that is banned in New York state.
“We’re seeking information from the company, because the company knows who’s acquired their product,” Cuomo said.
He’s also directed State Police Superintendent George Beach to remind residents that certain guns and features are banned under state law, regardless of whether they are available as a file to be 3-D printed.
Cuomo said he’s planning state legislation to regulate firearms that have been 3-D printed. State Sens. Brad Hoylman and Kevin Parker, both Democrats from New York City, have already announced a bill that would regulate those firearms.
Their legislation would require an individual to have a gunsmith license to manufacture or assemble a gun that’s been printed. That individual would also have to register the gun with law enforcement and attach a serial number to the firearm. Those guns would be illegal to buy or sell without a serial number in New York. The bill would also require that each piece of a printed gun be detectable by a metal detector.
A press release from Cuomo’s office did not mention the bill, but his proposed legislation appears to include the same provisions.