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Australian Police Arrested a Teenager With a Fully Functioning 3D Printed Gun

Published on June 14, 2022 by Clemens M.
3D printed gun in Western Australia

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.

The deadly weapon looks like a plastic toy (photo credits: PerthNow)

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.

Detective Senior Sgt. Blair Smith and the 3D printed gun (photo credits: WA Police)

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 LinkedInFacebook, 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.

The 16 comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

  1. Jay Wye says:

    the article said a number of other illegal guns were found too, in the drug raid.
    so this proves Australia’s “strict gun control” doesn’t work,it doesn’t keep guns out of the hands of criminals.
    then there was the example of the Australian dentist who made 100s of MAC-10/11 machine pistols with suppressors,in his home shop. He had sold 100s of them to “bikie” gang before he was caught. Police described them as “perfect copies”,not junk guns.

    1. Michael Steele says:

      Huh? It proves no such generality. The very fact this story is so unusual (worthy of front page news and pearl-clutching by many) actually proves just the opposite; this is a highly unusual situation. In the United States there would hardly be a mention of such an event because 3D printing weapon sub-assemblies is commonplace.
      In any event – the genie is out of the bottle; silly over-reactions like banning the possession of plans (not weapons themselves) shows the level of desperation and depth of ignorance on the part of law enforcement and politicians – you can’t control knowledge, never your actual job of preventing it from being applied.

  2. Rsm61 says:

    Criminals have guns. Terrorists have guns. Gangs have guns. Cartels have guns.
    Do something about them, instead of worrying about some guy with a printer.

  3. Dan says:

    Time to ban dangerous and scary 3D printers, steel pipes, springs, nails turned into firing pins, etc.

  4. Justin says:

    You’re telling me if there’s a will, there’s a way? I guess the govt is going to have to break the will of the people. They might want to stop destroying every other liberty, basic human right and prosperity of everyday working people.

  5. Mutt says:

    Proving gun control is dead.
    Time to stop banning and start making them legal.

  6. Sam Elliott says:

    The pearl clutching tone of this propaganda piece disguised as an article would be funny, if it didn’t reflect how hoplophobic many people are. The author ran three different thesauruses out of synonyms for “lethal”. Also they clearly demonstrated, through the word-salad used in describing the firearm; their consummate lack of knowledge on the topic.

    Get educated before you get critical.

  7. Mike says:

    “Assault weapon”, please…. The other commenter cover the propaganda angle very well.

  8. KTH says:

    This is an example of totalitarian rule. Citizens are controlled under penalty of law while criminals are ignored. Some citizen makes a plastic printed weapon and it becomes a lightening rod for more histrionic restrictions but thousands of criminals with illegal guns float around in society undetected and unmolested.

  9. Jefsvphx says:

    Typical Marxist ideology to to take guns away from law abiding citizens and then fail to protect the same law abiding citizens from criminals who don’t obey laws just so they can control good people and make them dependent on a anemic government. It never has worked and results in tyranny.

    1. Anon says:

      Marxist ideology? Here’s a quote from your hated enemies, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. “Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”. You can hate marxism all you like. But don’t just make things up. It makes you look like you can’t be bothered to google the simplest things.

  10. Joe Bumpy says:

    So.. what was the raid for anyways. Nice looking gun though

  11. TWC says:

    You can’t have a “fully functional” firearm witithe metal parts !! You know, like a barrel ?? And, you damn sure can’t 3D print a barrel !! So where did the barrel come from ????? That’s the part to be concerned about. But this shows the person who wrote the article is ignorant of guns.

  12. DN says:

    Wow maybe we should ban knives, tobacco, alcohol, cars, trucks, boats, concrete, boat anchors as all of these are commonly used to kill people just the media is stuck on this “mass killing, mass shooting, etc verbage crap. I have a semi auto, one squeeze of the trigger, one round gets fired AR-15, Multiple 9mm, 45ACP, .380, 38/357 SW360PD, Winchester model 88 lever action .243 from the 60’s my dad had in Hawaii from the late 70’s to the late 2000’s when he shipped it to me via UPS, legally. These firearms and many others I have all have been called assault weapons over and over in the media by the very same people of which many of those reporting use for hunting themselves. I’ve yelled at my AR to “assault assault” and it just sits there. My daughter 18, son 24 have held, know how dangerous they can be, fired some or all of these weapons and still to this day none of these weapons have “assaulted” anyone.

    We need to weed out the politicians feeding false information, the same politicians, elites in Hollywood who hire private security, the same security people who’ve got problems at home that the rest of us have in life.

    Yes guns are dangerous but go walk down the street in South America with Nike shoes on and you’ll give them up or die because of lawlessness. At least here in America the criminals don’t have as much balls as they know in America they could be shot by someone they’re trying to rob

    Go look at states with high crime rates and you’ll see they have less rights as citizens to defend themselves. As a matte of fact in those very liberal states the criminals get treated better than those who work, pay taxes and likewise

    As we all say, “come and take em but from my cold dead hands will they only be released”.

  13. Bob Wright says:

    Let freedom ring (or print!)
    I just love how the so called media and so called journalists have actually abandoned journalism. The word salad is pathetic and spun to terrify good people about firearms.
    It pisses me off that the average person has a “assult rifle ” however when the police or military gave the same style rifle.yet totally different in function they (the police or military) have “long guns. Just another mindless so called journalists spinning the story with statistics propaganda.

  14. “Deeply Concerning.” Know what else is concerning? People being able to take the freedoms of their citizens away. Look at the 1917 Russian Revolution and the freedoms that were taken away after the Soviet Takeover.

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