Law and Order

In Australia, Digital Blueprints for 3D Printed Guns carry 14 Year Prison Sentence

3d printed guns

Under new laws, Australians who download and store the STL files for 3D printed guns can be prosecuted and sentenced to a massive jail term.

If you live in Australia and were planning to make a 3D printed gun, then perhaps you should reconsider. Last week, the New South Wales (NSW) parliament passed the Firearms and Weapons Prohibition Legislation Amendment Bill 2015.

As part of a new legislation — which has been designed to crack down on gun crime in Australia — it states that anyone in possession of an STL file to 3D print a gun can go to jail.

The Bill will “create a new offence of possessing digital blueprints for the manufacture of firearms on 3D printers or electronic milling machines”, and “amends the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 to create a new offence of possessing digital blueprints for the manufacture of prohibited weapons on 3D printers or electronic milling machines”.

The maximum penalty for the offence is 14 years in prison, and that applies even if the computer containing the files is located outside of the NSW region.

3D Printed Guns as dangerous as conventional weapons?

While restrictions had already been placed on possession of 3D printed guns, it is the first time an Australian parliament has passed legislation concerning digital files meant for the fabrication of guns.

However, there are several potential loopholes to the law. These include defences relating to innocent production, dissemination or possession, conduct for the public benefit, and approved research — but these are very specific cases.

You may also be exempt if you are authorised by a licence or permit to manufacture the firearm concerned, or acting in ordinary course of the Police Force.

Those in possession of stolen guns (the non-3D printed variety) and those who modify identifying markings on guns in the state of NSW will also be subjected to the same penalties. This implies that Australian law puts 3D printed guns in the same category as a conventionally made firearm.

These developments come after extensive research by the NSW Police, where they revealed they were using STL files to test-fire the world’s first 3D printable gun, the Liberator pistol, back in 2013.

Source: Huffington Post Australia