We all know that, sooner or later, 3D printed guns will make headline, and not in a good way. The subject is already hotly debated, but as of yet there have been no reported crimes that we have been made aware of, in which a 3D printed gun has been used. Yes, in some nations like Japan, owning the gun itself is considered a crime in and of itself, but no violent crime has yet been reported, linked to such weapons.
It would be nice to think that the status quo would remain. However, there is little doubt in my mind, as well as that of law enforcement, that one day in the not too distant future, a violent crime will occur centered around the 3D printing of guns.
In fact, Queensland, Australian police may have played a part this morning in preventing such a crime. During a raid on a property located in Mudgeeraba, an organized crimes firearms investigation team stumbled upon numerous 3D printed parts which appeared to have been components for guns. What sparked the raid, we are unsure of, but what the police turned up seem to be rather incriminating. The 28-year-old, whose property was searched this morning, was arrested on weapons and drugs charges. The weapons charges did not stem from the 3D printed parts, but rather a sawed off shotgun.
According to Queensland police, once the 3D printed parts found are confirmed to be for the construction of a gun or multiple guns, additional charges will likely be brought against the individual.
“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,” stated detective Scott Knowles. “To us it appears that they are complete weapons just requiring assembly.”
If this is the case, it will be the first time that Queensland police have ever encountered 3D printed weapon components. In addition to the 3D printed gun parts and sawed off shotgun, police also found a part of 3D printed knuckle dusters, ammunition and cannabis on the property.
“The technology’s dangerous [because for the] weapons they’re trying to design the materials they’re using aren’t able to sustain the sorts of forces that come as a result of the weapons they’re trying to discharge,” Inspector Knowles said. “It could detonate in their hands which is going to cause them serious injuries but then, obviously, it’s a firearm so that then raises issues for the general public as a result of the fact that it is a weapon capable of being discharged.”
It will be interesting to see what sort of charges, if any, are brought for the 3D printed gun parts found today, as last year the Queensland Parliament forewent a discussion related to regulating the creation and possession of such weapons and components.
Let’s hear your thoughts on all of this. Should charges be brought for the 3D printed gun parts? Discuss in the Queensland 3D Printed Gun Parts forum thread on 3DPB.com.