from the Darwin-award-material? dept.
Police in Australia have seized 3D-printed weapons after a raid in a suburb of Gold Coast City, Queensland. The haul included plastic knuckle dusters and what are suspected to be printed gun parts. If confirmed, the state's police force has said it would be the first time it had discovered 3D-printed firearm components in a home.
"We've obviously got to get it through our ballistic experts but we can identify most if not all of the major components of a weapon," detective inspector Scott Knowles of Queensland Police Service told ABC News following the arrest of a 28-year-old suspect in Mudgeeraba. He added that the owner of the printer thought to have been involved had given the machine to the suspect to be calibrated, and was not aware that it was going to be misused.
Last year, Australia's Senate held an inquiry into gun-related violence, during which there were calls for the country's laws to be updated to take account of new technologies. However, DI Knowles noted that Queensland's current laws were already adequate to prosecute a case if ballistics experts confirmed the 3D-printed parts involved were designed for use in firearms. "With weapons and parts manufactured this way still being classified as a firearm under current legislation, people can also see themselves before the courts for manufacturing and possessing these items" he said.
In 2013, the New South Wales police force released videos warning of the dangers of 3D-printed guns and depicting an exploding Liberator, while acknowledging that it is impossible to stop the proliferation of gun CAD files. Last year, Yoshitomo Imura was arrested in Japan and sentenced to two years of prison after posting a video showing himself firing a 3D-printed revolver of his own design.
For those in the US with a combined interest in 3D-Printers, intersections of the 1st and 2nd Amendments, and legal precedents; Cody Wilson has been fighting the US Government for half a decade.
Short version: after Wilson uploaded his 3D pistol plans to his site, over 100,000 people downloaded it - this drew the attention of the US authorities, who tried to use the International Trade in Arms Regulations (ITAR) to force a take-down.
The authorities argued that by posting the 3D printer plans for a firearm, Mr. Wilson was effectively exporting firearms, and subject to federal regulation. Eventually the Department of Justice dropped the case, paving the way for DIY'ers to publish such things freely.
The article cites 'promises' made by DoJ to move the regulations to another department.
Wired's article: A Landmark Legal Shift Opens Pandora's Box for DIY Guns (archive)
Related: The $1,200 Machine That Lets Anyone Make a Metal Gun at Home
Japanese Gun Printer Goes to Jail
Suspected 3D-Printed Gun Parts and Plastic Knuckles Seized in Australia
FedEx Refuses to Ship Defense Distributed's Ghost Gunner CNC Mill
Man Who Used CNC Mill to Manufacture AR-15 "Lowers" Sentenced to 41 Months
Ghost Gunner Software Update Allows the Milling of an M1911 Handgun
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is "looking into" the availability of plans for the 3D printing of guns, writing on Twitter that he had already been in touch with the NRA on the issue.
"I am looking into 3-D Plastic Guns being sold to the public. Already spoke to NRA, doesn't seem to make much sense!" the president wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning.
After a years-long legal battle, Defense Distributed, a Texas-based group, has announced plans to release instructions on Wednesday for guns that can be created by a 3-D printer, including a handgun and parts for a semi-automatic assault rifle. Although plans were not supposed to be available until Wednesday, instructions have already begun to appear online for download, CNN reported Tuesday.