The U.S. State Department said Thursday it had heard enough from Defense Distributed, the non-profit group at the center of a 3-D gun printing controversy.
The department sent a three-page cease and desist letter dated Wednesday to Cody Wilson, the organization's 25-year-old founder and self-described anarchist, demanding that the group remove instructions for printing a handgun with a 3-D printer from its website.
Earlier this week Wilson posted a video online showing a single shot being fired from "The Liberator," a plastic handgun that, with the exception of a metal firing pin and a piece of metal included to comply with the Undetectable Firearms Act, was assembled entirely from parts made with a 3-D printer.
On the Defense Distributed website, a one-line banner read, "DEFCAD files are being removed from public access at the request of the US Department of Defense Trade Controls." The site had been scrubbed of the documents by Thursday afternoon.
Wilson later tweeted "#DEFCAD is going dark at the request of the SOS Department of Defense Trade Controls. Some shapes are more dangerous than others."
At issue was whether Wilson had violated International Traffic in Arms Regulations by posting files on his website allowing users to download and print firearms with 3-D printing technology.
"Defense Distributed may have released ITAR-controlled technical data without the required authorization from the Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, a violation," the State Department's letter to Wilson said.
Regulations that the government alleges Wilson violated would require approval for the design, development, production, manufacture, assembly, operation, repair, testing, maintenance or modification of firearms including blueprints, drawings and plans, or just about every aspect required to print a gun using a 3-D printer.
The letter also said that Defense Distributed likely didn't get the proper approval to release the technical data it had posted online.
Wilson says he founded Defense Distributed as a non-profit and posted the documents in the public domain.
"I have never had to consult them, so I hadn't," Wilson told CNN by phone.
A State Department spokesperson who declined to be named confirmed that the department had been in contact with Defense Distributed but would not comment further on that particular case. Regulating the export of defense items is a national security issue, the spokesperson said.
Wilson, a law student at the University of Texas in