State Department Orders 3D Gun Plans Offline

(Image Credit: Defense Distributed)

A non-profit corporation has removed plans for a 3D-printed firearm from its website, saying it was ordered to do so by the U.S. State Department.

" # DEFCAD has gone dark at the request of the Department of Defense Trade Controls. Take it up with the Secretary of State," the Twitter account associated with the nonprofit Defense Distributed tweeted Thursday.

Defense Distributed founder Cody Wilson told Forbes Magazine he received a letter from the State Department Thursday, ordering him to remove blueprints for several 3D-printable weapons Wilson posted on the Internet, claiming these documents could have violated U.S. laws regarding the sale of weapons internationally.

A State Department spokesperson told ABC News Friday that they do not comment on individual cases of this nature, but confirmed that they had been in contact with Defense Distributed.

"In accordance with the Arms Export Control Act, any person who engages in the U.S. in the business of manufacturing or exporting defense articles, furnishing defense services, or engages in arms brokering covered by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) is required to register with the State Department (via the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls)," a State Department spokesperson said in an email to ABC News Friday.

"The U.S. government views the export of defense articles and defense services as an integral part of safeguarding U.S. national security and furthering U.S. foreign policy objectives. The United States is cognizant of the potentially adverse consequences of indiscriminate arms transfers and, therefore, strictly regulates exports of defense items and technologies to protect its national interests and those interests in peace and security of the broader international community," the spokesperson wrote.

Defense Distributed writes that its mission is to "defend the civil liberty of popular access to arms" by making information on how to print 3D weapons available internationally.

The corporation tested the first fully 3D-printed gun at a range in Texas on May 2. The gun successfully fired a round, according to Forbes Magazine, which sent a photographer along to capture the event.

British 3D printing company Digits2Widgets warns 3D printers made for private use in homes are not capable of producing a weapon like the one demonstrated in Defense Distributed's video.

"The level of precision detail that they can achieve and the poor engineering quality of their own plastic materials would make it suicidal to attempt to print and fire the gun made from any of these machines," the company wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Defense Distributed did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

Wilson, a Texas law student who lists anti-statist and libertarian philosophers as his influences, appeared in a YouTube video, firing a gun with a 30-round, 3D-printed magazine in February. At that time, Wilson told ABC News he was hoping to change the debate over proposed gun control restrictions that have since died in the Senate.

Government leaders "act like passing a law will keep magazines off the street, but we want to show them that magazines will always be on the street," he said.