Jan 4, 2017 | By Anja
Police in New South Wales (NSW), Australia are cracking down on 3D printed guns like never before. Hot on the heels of local raid in which police stumbled upon an underground lab 3D printing submachine guns, NSW Police Chief Wayne Hoffman has announced a new focus on 3D printed guns as part of his team’s ongoing ballistics research.
"A lot of people call this an emerging trend, and we have to go with that – 3D printers are a very important bit of technology, so we want to keep on top of it," Chief Hoffman told ABC.
As part of their ongoing investigation, NSW police used a 3D printer to manufacture a plastic revolver capable of discharging small arms ammo.
"The tests that we have done show that it can discharge a bullet, which will enter a human body at a depth of 14 centimetres, which could inflict a lethal wound upon a human being," Chief Hoffman said.
3D printed weapons used in NSW Police research
Despite Australia’s strict gun laws, reports show that criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in obtaining, creating, and distributing weapons. And according to the NSW Police, 3D printing technology may be at the forefront of these dangerous new developments.
While organizations like the Australian Medical Association have responded by lobbying for a national gun registry, 3D printed weapons present a unique challenge for lawmakers. The illegal assembly of 3D printed gun components, for instance, would not be prevented by a gun registry.
Indeed, the danger of self-printing and assembling handguns goes beyond sheer numbers. NSW Police have noted that a lack of professional firearm regulations means criminals are endangering themselves too. "People making homemade firearms, putting together parts and using printers are putting themselves in danger – there is no inspection, no quality or testing," said Chief Hoffman. "It’s not easy or by any means at the standard of a professional firearm manufacturer."
NSW Chief Inspector Hoffman with 3D printed guns
According to the NSW Police, 3D printing isn’t the only method of manufacturing weapons yourself. "At this current moment, more of the threat is the homemade firearms – that is replica pistols that have been made to fire modified and other items which are assembled in the form of a gun to discharge a bullet," Chief Hoffman said. "We're getting more of that into the laboratory at the moment and not 3D printed firearms or parts.”
Still, the NSW Police vows to stay on top of this emerging trend. As of now, no 3D printed handguns have been discovered in the NSW area, but several were seized recently in Queensland.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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Eric wrote at 1/28/2017 7:47:07 PM:
Richard wrote at 1/4/2017 11:44:08 PM:
You need to contact the Australian news companies and say that you won’t accept any more of these bogus news stories. The revolver pictured here is clearly a non-functioning, non-firing prop. The other one I can’t see well enough to tell what it is. “They shoot plastic bullets…” what sort of stupidity is this? The real problem is the smuggling of real metal guns and ammo. In other words, it’s not a 3D printing article at all. Bogus articles like this are making Australians look stupid.