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Democratic senator threatens to stall Trump nominee over 3D guns

Democratic senator threatens to stall Trump nominee over 3D guns
© Greg Nash

Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeySenators ask airlines to offer cash refunds for unused flight credits Civilian Climate Corps can help stem rural-urban divide Senate votes to nix Trump rule limiting methane regulation MORE (D-Mass.) is threatening to stall a top State Department nominee until the Trump administration reverses course on allowing blueprints for 3D printed guns to be published online.

Markey said during a Foreign Relations Committee hearing Wednesday that he would place a hold on R. Clarke Cooper's nomination to be an assistant secretary of State amid a fight over the guns.

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“Until the president agrees to reverse this policy and prohibit the online publication of these dangerous blueprints -- a decision that is entirely within his authority -- I intend to place a hold on your nomination," Markey said.

He added that while Cooper, who would oversee the State Department's bureau of political-military affairs, wasn't responsible for the administration's policy, "You are asking us to confirm you to a position where you will be defending the indefensible."

Placing a hold on Cooper’s nomination can't prevent him from being confirmed, but it would force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellBiden says Beau's assessment of first 100 days would be 'Be who you are' McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal McConnell: 'Good chance' of deal with Biden on infrastructure MORE (R-Ky.) to use up days of floor time to get him confirmed once his nomination is brought to the floor.

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Tuesday blocking the online release of plans for 3D printed guns, hours before the blueprints were set to become available.

The administration has come under criticism for a legal settlement with a gun rights activist last month over the distribution of 3D firearm blueprints. Defense Distributed sued the U.S. government in 2015 after the State Department forced all of its instruction manuals to be removed from the internet.

Under the terms of the court settlement, Defense Distributed was expected to be allowed to start publishing digital blueprints on its website starting Aug. 1. But thousands have already been downloaded when some plans were put online early.

Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation that would ban blueprints of 3D printed guns from being posted online. Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonChina fires back after NASA criticism of rocket debris reentry The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Infrastructure, Cheney ouster on deck as Congress returns NASA criticizes China after rocket debris lands in Indian Ocean MORE (D-Fla.) tried to pass the legislation by unanimous consent, but Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeHillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan GOP governor says Republican Party has to allow for differences MORE (R-Utah) objected, saying he had First Amendment concerns.