Jan 19, 2017 | By Tess

police officer holding a 3D gun police made using a 3D printer

A man from Mudgeeraba in Queensland, Australia has been given a six-month suspended sentence, having been found guilty of attempting to 3D print a handgun. According to the court that charged him, while the threat of 3D printed guns is not yet widespread, it does have the potential to become a serious problem in the region.

Of all the countries where 3D printing has really taken off, Australia seems to be the most concerned with the threat of 3D printed guns. And whether or not you take the threat as seriously as Australian officials do, their concern is understandable considering their strict gun safety and ownership laws.

Recently, for instance, a series of drug raids in Australia resulted in the seizure of a number of 3D printed firearm parts and the 3D printer used to make them. And while it is not clear whether the guns (which included submachine guns) were entirely 3D printed, the discovery did raise some alarms amongst officials. At the very least it seems clear that organized crime syndicates are trying to exploit the technology to make black-market, unregistered firearms.

30-year-old Kyle Wirth, who was charged with the manufacture of an unlicensed weapon in February 2015, does not have any reported ties to the above-mentioned raids, but his case raises more questions about how to deal with the rise in 3D printed firearms. Here’s what we know about Wirth’s case.

In 2015, police raided the man’s 18-acre property in Mudgeeraba, a suburb in Queensland, Australia, and found several bags filled with 3D printed parts that, when constructed, made up a firearm. According to the Southport District Court, Wirth apparently called the police after the raid to explain that the 3D printed parts alone could not make a functioning firearm. Police were reportedly able to discharge the 3D printed weapon after adding only a spring, however.

And while Wirth’s defence lawyer maintains his client never intended to sell or use the gun for criminal purposes, claiming the gun was not even capable of firing, crown prosecutor Judith Geary countered by saying that 3D printing the gun parts, even just out of curiosity, was a serious offence that could result in “inadvertent” injury, especially if the gun was believed to be a toy.

Kyle Wirth leaving court, 2015

In the end, judge Katherine McGuinness sided with the prosecution, stating that Wirth was “trying to make a gun” and that the community needed to be protected from 3D printed weapons. She said, “Not only is it illegal...but there is a real need to deter and protect the public from such offending.”

Wirth, who was charged with a number of drug offences right after the raid in 2015, was given a six-month suspended sentence for the weapons charge. According to Australian press, he pleaded guilty to the offence this morning.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Nate wrote at 1/20/2017 10:54:26 PM:

They do no 3d printers use a soft or flexable molding plastic pellets an not metal or hard polymers and that trying to shoot a bullet out of a 3d printed gun would probably explode unless you make it big an bulky enough it might be able to fire off one round or two if it was a cnc machine i would understand because those can mold metal an have been used in firearms but even so thats a multi thousand dollar machine comparing a 3d printers capability to a cnc is like comparing a remote control car to a monster truck or a paper machea sword to a japanes hand crafted katana

Rise against wrote at 1/19/2017 7:02:48 PM:

That's ridiculous the police made it into a functioning weapon and charge him for it!, waste of tax dollars , Not to mention it could even be able to fire more than one small caliber round very inaccuratly eventually that really brittle plastic is going to warp and possibly explode it's ridiculous find something better to do there are real crimes being committed! Idiot's!!!!

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