A man from Sydney is facing a serious jail sentence after advertising one of his 3D printed imitation weapons in a private Facebook group. He claims that the replica firearms were made as costume props, blurring the lines between dangerous DIY guns and cosplay items.
A pop culture fan and costume enthusiast from Sydney is facing a possible jail sentence for producing 3D printed replica guns. Back in 2017, a 28-year-old hobbyist named Sicen Sun was arrested for advertising an imitation weapon for $1 million on a Facebook buy, swap and sell group.
Following his arrest, the Australian man pleaded guilty to a handful of charges, including possession of 3D printable gun blueprints, manufacturing a pistol without a proper permit and also possession of an unauthorized pistol. However, Sun claims that he only produced the replica firearms to use them as cosplay props.
“With 20/20 hindsight I just realise how silly, idiotic, stupid and naive my actions were,” Sun explained during his recent NSW District Court sentence hearing. “I could not even begin to contemplate that a hobby would land me in such strife.”
The replica weapons created by Sun include a P90 sub-machine gun seen in Stargate and MA5C rifle from the famous video game series Halo. Although he admits to being aware that his cosplay weapons were possibly illegal to produce, he rationalized his actions by the fact that the weapons were incapable of firing a projectile.
As for the $1 million asking price on Facebook, the defendant states that he never expected to sell his props for such a high cost, but wanted to obtain acknowledgment for his work. Instead, he’s now gained recognition for being the first person in New South Wales to be charged with possessing blueprints to manufacture firearms.
Crown prosecutor Stephen Makin said that Sun’s crimes are serious because the guns could still be used in a serious crime even though they were fake. Sun also states that he has created a pamphlet and to educate others of the legalities of 3D printing prop, trying to prevent others from falling into the same legal trouble.
This particular case elicits an important question that has been swept under the rug during the recent controversy surrounding 3D printed guns.
The topic of DIY firearms has exploded into the mainstream after the Trump administration reached a settlement to allow crypto-anarchist Cody Wilson to upload 3D firearm blueprints online. The court decision received an immense amount of pushback by politicians and gun control advocates. A handful of states have filed a lawsuit to keep the 3D printable gun blueprints off of the internet.
But the case against Sun shines a light on an overlooked aspect. At what point does a 3D printed replica weapon go beyond cosplay and become dangerous? You can certainly say that this cosplay enthusiast made a poor decision by publicizing his creation on Facebook, but does he deserve jail time for manufacturing and attempting to sell 3D printed guns that look realistic but aren’t actually lethal?
There’s no denying that a weapon doesn’t need to be functional to be used in a crime. A criminal with bad intentions could easily use a realistic looking gun replica to inspire fear in victims, but what does that mean for a cosplay enthusiast whose favorite character is known for packing heat?
Australia has been one of the most proactive countries when it comes to creating laws that criminalize 3D printed guns and CAD models. But some may think that the case against Sun is taking the 3D printed gun frenzy a step too far. Should the cosplay enthusiast be punished for his realistic looking 3D printed gun props?
Feel free to share your opinion on the matter in our comment section below.
License: The text of "3D Printed Gun Hysteria Gone Too Far? Australian Man Faces Jail Over “Costume Props”" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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