The Trump administration broke a federal law when it reached a settlement allowing a small gun-technology company to publish digital blueprints for 3D-printed guns online, a judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Robert Lasnik in Seattle ruled on Tuesday that the administration violated the federal Administrative Procedure Act by reversing an Obama-era State Department position on Defense Distributed’s publishing of computer-aided design files for guns without a proper explanation, making the new policy “arbitrary and capricious.”

“Given the agency’s prior position regarding the need to regulate 3D-printed firearms and the CAD files used to manufacture them, it must do more than simply announce a contrary position,” Lasnik wrote in his decision.

The administration of President Barack Obama blocked the company’s effort for years on the grounds that publication of the files would violate an arms-export law. The State Department reversed course in June 2018 and gave Defense Distributed the green light. The company’s website called it “our most famous victory.”

Charles Flores, a lawyer for Defense Distributed in Houston, declined to comment on Lasnik’s ruling.

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