There is no doubt that with the help of technology the world is changing in many ways, providing solutions to many age old problems, while at the same time creating new problems in the process. Although 3D printing has been a godsend for so many areas, from medicine, to design, to even NASA’s research, 3D printed guns remain at the top of regulators’ concerns around the globe.
Back in May, we reported on the arrest of a 28-year-old employee of Shonan Institute of Technology in Japan, Yoshitomo Imura. The arrest came after authorities in Japan got wind of a YouTube Video in which Imura was seen test firing a Zig Zag revolver, which he had 3D printed. In fact, they found two different homemade 3D printed guns within Imura’s apartment, leading to the swift arrest.
What made this arrest even more interesting though, is the fact that Japan is known for there strict gun laws. It is estimated that while the United States will see approximately 297 gun murders for every 10,000,000 people each year, Japan will only see 1. A total of 15 people were murdered in Japan in 2012. In the United States, we have seen that number eclipsed in a single weekend in Chicago alone.
Since the arrest, many had been speculating on what the sentence for Imura would be. I’ve heard anywhere from a slap on the wrist, to up to three and a half years years in prison. Today the sentence was was handed down in the Yokohama District Court, and the defendant, who claimed to have been unaware of any law prohibiting the 3D printing of firearms, and admitted his wrong, found out that he will be spending the next two years of his life in prison.
Prosecutors for the case argued that Imura could have caused major damage to society as he had made data for the 3D models of his firearms easily available on the internet.
“This has shown that anyone can illegally manufacture guns with a 3D printer, flaunting their knowledge and skill, and it is an offense to make our country’s strict gun controls into a dead letter,” stated Presiding Judge Koji Inaba.
Imura’s sentence could still be appealed by his attorneys, however, it will certainly be used as an example by authorities to prevent others from printing out weapons at home. Ultimately, those who intend to commit a violent act with a 3D printed firearm likely aren’t the ones worried about the implications of doing so. As global governments decide how to best deal with this wave of technological concern, Japan has already made a clear statement.
Do you think that Imura’s sentence was warranted? Will other governments follow suit with strict laws like those found in Japan? Let’s hear your thoughts on Imura’s sentencing in the 3D Printed Gun Arrest forum thread on 3DPB.com. Below is the video which prompted authorities to ask.