Australian Senate Not Convinced That Laws to Prevent 3D Printed Guns Are Needed

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Australia-3d-printed-gunsA pair of reports from the Australian Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee reveals that while law enforcement, and federal and state governments are considering regulations to deal with 3D printed firearms, a majority of that country’s senators said they think existing laws will do the job.

According to the report asking for new regulations, “invention and expansion of 3D manufacturing means that the production of firearms in this way is now a reality.” It adds that there are problems posed by such firearms that might come as a result of the difficulty of detecting them and the simplicity of disposing of such guns.

The report also noted that, as yet, the impact of crimes related to 3D printed guns in Australia “appears at present to be negligible.”

liberator-parts-3d printedThe minority report cites evidence from the Law Institute of Victoria, which says inconsistencies in laws across Australian jurisdictions in regulation and registration of firearm parts and the manufacture of firearm parts could be impacted by “rapid changes” brought on as a result of 3D manufacturing methods. The Australian Green Party is also calling for legislation to limit the production of firearms with 3D printing technology.

This led the minority committee report to suggest that “uniform legislation regulating the manufacture of 3D printed firearms and firearm parts be introduced in all jurisdictions.”

Australian Senators Ian Macdonald, Bridget McKenzie, Linda Reynolds, and David Leyonhjelm rejected that assertion and said that although monitoring the situation makes sense, there’s no current need to create additional laws which deal specifically with the production of firearms produced with 3D printing technology. That group said they were concerned that such laws might lead to unnecessary regulation of 3D printing overall.

“The committee … does not accept that banning the individual use of 3D printers or introducing a character test for ownership is either necessary or practical,” says the majority report on the matter.

Back in February, police in Queensland seized some plastic, 3D printed gun parts during a raid and showed them off for the assembled press. Two years ago, New South Wales police had also test fired a version of the 3D printed ‘Liberator’ which failed catastrophically.Australian 3DP Gun Laws

A proposal put forward last June did make specific reference to 3D printed guns, saying they pose a risk and questions:

“…the adequacy of current laws and resourcing to enable law enforcement authorities to respond to technological advances in gun technology, including firearms made from parts which have been imported separately or covertly to avoid detection, and firearms made with the use of 3D printers.”

The Australian Senate is considering both reports this month.

Do you think it’s necessary to specifically prevent the creation of 3D printed guns, or do you think current laws are sufficient? Let us know in the Australian Senate Gun Debate forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3d printed Liberator failure

Liberator fired by NSW Police Department following its failure. (Photo: New South Wales PD)

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