Pa.’s Shapiro joins lawsuit challenging Trump admin. effort to allow 3D-printed guns | Tuesday Morning Coffee

January 28, 2020 7:09 am

CHANTILLY, VA – NOVEMBER 18: A potential buyer tries out a gun which is displayed on an exhibitor’s table during the Nation’s Gun Show on November 18, 2016 at Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia. The show is one of the largest in the area. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Good Tuesday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro has joined with 19 of his colleagues in a federal lawsuit seeking to prevent the Trump White House’s newest attempt to allow access to blueprints for 3D-printed guns.

The downloadable files would essentially allow anyone with an Internet connection to be able to print their own unregistered, untraceable firearm with a 3D printer.

The lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Seattle, argues that the administration’s effort to release downloadable files for public use would “make it far easier for anyone—including foreign bad actors and individuals ineligible to possess firearms—to easily obtain untraceable and undetectable firearms with the click of a button.”

The 99-page filing names U.S. Secretary of State Mike PompeoCommerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and other Trump White House officials as defendants.

As our sibling site the Michigan Advance reports, this isn’t the first time the Trump administration has made an attempt to release the downloadable files for public use. As part of a June 2018 lawsuit, they agreed to allow unlimited public distribution of the files; a month later, a multi-state coalition filed their own suit against the administration.

A display of ‘ghost guns’ displayed by Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office during a Capitol news conference on Monday, 12/16/19 (Capital-Star photo by John L. Micek)

More from the Michigan Advance:

“A federal judge ruled last November that the administration had violated federal law and struck down the effort.  Now, the administration is making another attempt: This time, by publishing new rules to transfer 3D-printed gun regulation from the U.S. State Department to the Department of Commerce.

“The 21-state lawsuit now challenging this move, which Shapiro has joined, argues that the rule is unlawful because the administration has violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) in failing to provide meaningful public notice of the rule and failing to offer beneficial evidence behind allowing such unfettered access to printable firearms.”The lawsuit also alleges that loopholes in the Department of Commerce regulations make the agency unable to regulate 3D-printed guns in any meaningful way.”

Others states participating in the lawsuit include: Washington, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont and the District of Columbia.

Our Stuff.
Stephen Caruso 
leads our coverage this morning with his profile of the battle for Westmoreland County’s open 58th House District seat, where a 38-year-old Iraq vet named Bob Prah is looking to turn a Trump-y seat blue.

Caruso also has the latest on a Senate bill seeking to block Gov. Tom Wolf from closing two, state-owned centers that treat the intellectually disabled. It faces a gubernatorial veto.

County leaders warned a state Senate panel of the uncertainty they face heading into the 2020 elections, Elizabeth Hardison reports.

Gov. Tom Wolf offered another sneak-peak at his 2020-21 budget proposal on Monday, saying he wants to funnel tens of millions of dollars into workforce development programsAssociate Editor Cassie Miller has the story on that, and on the new monuments paying tribute to victories for voting rights and a vanished Harrisburg neighborhood.

From our partners at the Philadelphia Tribune, the new session of City Council is off to an aggressive start with a raft of forward-facing bills getting introduced.

On our Commentary Page this morning, an occupational therapy student at the University of Pittsburgh explains why the Wolf administration’s mental health initiative will help underserved communities and the incarcerated. It’s almost High Noon for Republicans in the U.S. Senate, occasional contributors Michael J. Cozzillio and Craig N. Moore write. And despite what you’ve heard, independent voters are just as partisan as anyone else, a University of Dayton political scientist opines.

(Image via Flickr Commons)

Philly scored a win with its soda tax. But that’s not the case elsewhere, the Inquirer reports.
With the ranks of teachers thinning, substitute teachers are filling the gap, the Post-Gazette reports.
Ongoing violence in the Harrisburg schools is prompting calls for action from parentsPennLive reports.
The Morning Call profiles 12 political newcomers running for office in and around the Lehigh Valley.

Here’s your #Pittsburgh Instagram of the Day:

Pa. Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar says county ‘election officials have told her they might have trouble counting absentee ballots, or dealing with an influx of late registrations,’ the PA Post reports.
Families who don’t qualify for subsidized child care say they need help anyway, WHYY-FM reports.
Veep Mike Pence will appear in Camp Hill, Cumberland County on Feb. 5, PoliticsPA reports.
Politico has Joe Biden’s closing argument to Iowa voters ahead of next week’s caucus.

What Goes On.
The Senate comes in at 1 p.m.
10 a.m., Main Rotunda: An event by an outfit called “The Freedom Foundation.”
11:30 a.m., Main Rotunda: PennEnvironment drops an air quality report.
12:30 p.m., Main Rotunda: Family Care Act post-hearing event

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition).
7:30 a.m.: 
Breakfast for Rep. Clint Owlett
8 a.m.: Breakfast for Sen. Tom Killion
11:30 a.m.: Luncheon for 37th Senate candidate Devlin Robinson
5:30 p.m.: Reception for Sen. Kim Ward
6 p.m.: Reception for Rep. Jake Wheatley
Ride the circuit, and give at the max, and you’re out a ridiculous $12,000 today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept. 
Belated best wishes go out this morning to Erik Arneson in the Office of Open Records, who celebrated on Monday.

Gov Tom Wolf 
keeps his budget preview tour rolling with a 10 a.m. event at the Capitol, where he’ll ‘reaffirm’ his commitment to raising the minimum wage. At 1:30 p.m., he heads to PEMA HQ in the Harrisburg ‘burbs, to talk about infrastructure.

Heavy Rotation.
Here’s another groover for your morning. This time it’s from Khruangbin. The tune is ‘C-Side.’

Tuesday’s Gratuitous Hockey Link.
got past Nashville 5-2 on Monday as post-All Star game play resumed across the NHL.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.