Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) sent the following letter to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, urging her to immediately move for injunctive relief in federal court to prevent the publication of electronic plans for 3-D Printed Guns in Florida (Please find attached and below a copy of the letter):
July 30, 2018
Ms. Pam Bondi
Office of Attorney General
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Dear Attorney General Bondi:
I write to bring to your attention an important and timely matter. As soon as Wednesday, August 1, 2018, the U.S. Department of State may allow online, the posting of electronic files that contain the requisite code that will allow individuals to produce untraceable firearms. These firearms will be made of plastic and will not contain any serial code. Due to the undeniable danger posed by this development, I respectfully request that you immediately move for injunctive relief in federal court to stop the publication of these electronic files.
As you may know, the upcoming publication of the code that will allow anyone to print 3-D weapons at home is the result of a recent settlement in the case of Defense Distributed v. United States Department of State. In reversing years of precedent, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has, in allowing for the publication of these electronic files, capitulated to the head of Defense Distributed, a self-described anarchist who has stated a desired intention to defend the publication of these codes by violent means.
The irreparable harm posed by the publication of these codes is unquestionable. Once the codes are published online, Pandora’s Box will have been opened and the ability to rectify the situation via legal remedy will be negligible at best. States like Florida must be given an opportunity to entertain legislation that regulates 3-D weapons before our state is awash in these untraceable weapons of war.
Injunctive relief is also appropriate in the current situation because the balance of hardships quite clearly tip in your favor as Florida’s chief legal officer. The wide-spread printing of do-it-yourself guns will only embolden those people that Florida’s brave police officers work tirelessly to protect us from – terrorists, violent felons, and domestic abusers.
The hardships for these officers and, by extension you, are two-fold: First, as noted above, these do-it-yourself weapons are made of plastic and therefore, unlikely to be detected by any metal detector making it exponentially difficult for law enforcement to ensure that guns are not brought into restricted areas under Florida law including courthouses, polling stations, and prisons. Second, the individuals who will make these weapons will not be licensed manufacturers and for that reason will not be subject to serialization requirements. Florida’s law enforcement officers use serial numbers on firearms used in crimes to start their investigations. These serial numbers allow the officers to trace firearms to their first retail purchaser using this information to further investigate, and ultimately solve, crimes. Allowing non-serialized firearms to be easily created at home will needlessly undermine our law enforcement officers’ ability to successfully investigate crimes.
Finally, the public interest served through injunctive relief being granted in the current situation is clear. The citizens of Florida have an obvious right in the enforcement of their laws, both at the state level and federal level. The publication of code that will make it easy to print untraceable firearms – firearms used by terrorists, violent felons, and domestic abusers, clearly undermines the public interest in being safe from violent crime.
I thank you for your timely consideration of this request and look forward to your response. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office at 202-225-1313.
Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Senior Member of the House Rules Committee, Ranking Democratic Member of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Democratic Chairman of the Florida Delegation.