Australian Police Arrested a Teenager With a Fully Functioning 3D Printed Gun
During the house raid of an 18-year-old suspect in Western Australia, Police officers from the Drug and Firearm Squad secured a number of illegal firearms, including a 3D printed semi-automatic gun. The 4kg gun is able to fire 15 lethal 9mm rounds and is considered to be fully-functional. The inclusion of select metal parts have enabled this, as often 3D printed guns fall apart quickly after use due to the use of polymers.
Only recently, the European Police Office (Europol), expressed concerns about the increasing amount of 3D printed weapons that have been seized in Europe over the last few years, resulting in a conference held in Den Haag, the Netherlands, at which professionals and experts discussed the problem. Now, after the United States and Europe have already been forced to deal with the increasing danger, it seems like the threat of 3D-printed firearms has found its way down under.
According to various Australian news outlets, the Australian Police executed a search warrant on the 3rd of June in Bayside, Western Australia, the officers were surprised to find a fully functional, semi-automatic firearm, allegedly produced in a suburban home. The gun, which has the appearance of a regular harmless plastic toy, turned out to be a dangerous assault weapon with the ability to shoot 9mm caliber rounds, the same caliber used by the armed police. “It’s deeply concerning that this man was able to manufacture this firearm at home with a 3D printer and readily available materials” Detective Senior Sgt. Blair Smith said in a statement. “That is a semi-automatic 9mm assault rifle in essence.”
Australia’s Tough Gun Laws
Although the police had found similar 3D printed gun parts in the past, the firearm found in Bayside is the first fully functioning gun of its kind, made from easily available materials. Besides the 3D-printed body of the weapon, the gun featured a 3D-printed magazine as well. For the trigger and mechanical parts of the gun, metal parts were added.
Australia has a very strict policy when it comes to the illegal possession and use of fire weapons. In November last year, the Government of Western Australia proposed a strict update of its gun laws. In an attempt to prevent the possible threat of an increasing number of 3D printed firearms, the newly proposed amendments included making the illegal manufacturing of plastic 3D firearms a serious felony, which may result in prison sentences up to 14 years and fines of up to $75,000.
The exact details of how the firearm was constructed and which technologies were used are yet unknown and haven’t been revealed by the Police, as well as any further information about the alleged manufacturer of the gun. Given its appearance, it is highly likely that the manufacturer used a regular desktop 3D printer and acquired the models for the gun on the internet, as it had been in similar cases around the world. As a result of the discovery of the 3D-printed semi-automatic, the Australian police now even launched a special task force that targets people who try to manufacture firearms at home.
The 18-year-old alleged gun manufacturer has been charged with several offenses, including the unlicensed manufacturing and possession of a prohibited weapon, and is facing time in jail. After noting that this is the first time that a fully operational 3D printed firearm had been seen in Western Australia, Det-Sen Sgt Smith concluded, “These types of firearms are unregulated, unlicensed and have no place in our community. Our team or the drug and firearms squad will remain relentless in identifying these people using all available data to us locating them and you will be prosecuted with serious firearm offences.”
What do you think of the police’s discovery of this fully functional 3D printed gun in Australia? Let us know in a comment below or on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages! Don’t forget to sign up for our free weekly Newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox! You can also find all our videos on our YouTube channel.