The UK Home Office has updated its firearms rules, making clear that its generally illegal to manufacture, sell, purchase and possess 3D-printed guns.
Image: Science Museum, UK
Unlicensed 3D printing of guns is illegal and punishable by up to 10 years in prison, the government said on Thursday, as it moved to address growing public concern about plastic guns.
Weapons made by printing their components, such as the Liberator, designed by Defense Distributed and released to the world in May, are already banned under the 1968 Firearms Act, but the Home Office has added language to its rules to prohibit the manufacture, sale, purchase and possession of them unless properly licensed.
The regulations also apply to individual gun components.
Printed guns have prompted unease among public and police forces since the first firearm blueprint was successfully fired and then freely published online in May this year, attracting over 100,000 downloads in just two days.
In Britain, there are around 170,000 firearms licences and 620,000 shotgun licences currently on issue. All firearms must be licensed by the police and are subject to a lengthy applications process.
"There has been an enormous amount of interest in recent months in 3D-printed guns and the potential dangers they pose," Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker said in a statement.
He added: "There is no evidence that they are in widespread circulation, but the coalition government has reviewed existing firearms legislation and made it absolutely clear that it is an offence to own or manufacture a 3D printed gun without a licence."
There were 5,094 offences involving firearms in Britain between April 2012 and March 2013, accounting for 0.1 percent of all crimes, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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