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Legal Status of 3D Printing Guns in Australia and America


With a rising threat of 3D printed guns, countries are having to find ways of dealing with the issue. From America to Australia, the tactics may differ, but the outcome will hopefully be the same.

Jerry Brown, Governor of California, recently signed legislation bill in America which requires anyone who 3D prints their own gun to obtain a serial number or “other mark of identification”.

As well as this, every owner of a 3D printed gun will be required to have a background check too. According to the bill, 3D printed guns can’t be sold or transferred to another party either.

So far, there was no legislation for 3D printed guns in the US
So far, there was no legislation for 3D printed guns in the US

However, people are both happy and highly irritated by this legislation. Not surprisingly gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA) believe that 3D printed gun restrictions violate the Second Amendment. While on the other hand, lawmakers argue that 3D printed guns actually present a large safety concern, especially as they could pass through metal detectors and can’t be traced back.

According to a state Senate analysis: “There are no provisions in existing law that prevent a person from buying an 80 percent lower receiver and then making it into a fully functional firearm. Because 80 percent lower receivers are not considered firearms, a person purchasing them does not have to go through a federal firearms dealer, and does not have to undergo a background check. This bill is intended to close this loophole.”

Legal Boundaries of 3D Printing Guns in Australia

Australia has a slightly different tactic. When it comes to gun control, this site has a handy section explaining Australian law to makers. It was developed by staff at the University of Melbourne as a result of a large interest from users who are wanting to share and create their own 3D printed goods.

On their website it says: “In 2015 New South Wales amended its firearms act to, among other things, include a clause that says ‘A person must not possess a digital blueprint for the manufacture of a firearm on a 3D printer or on an electronic milling machine… [or face a] Maximum penalty: imprisonment for 14 years.”

Just for owning the files to build a 3D printed gun, you could go to prison for 14 years in Australia.

They make it clear that in New South Wales, the blueprint – such as an STL file of a 3D printed gun – is the problem which is obviously rather hard to enforce. However, the site goes on to explain the importance of understanding the laws before making firearms using any manufacturing technology.

The explanation continues: “In Australia, the Commonwealth’s own report on 3D printing firearms suggested “it seems that current laws pertaining to firearms would apply equally to 3D printed firearms and firearm parts”.”

Only time will tell how best to deal with 3D printed guns. For now, it seems both countries are making a concerted effort to clamp down on the problem.

What do you think could be done to enforce laws on 3D printed guns? Let us know in the comments.

(Source: Motherboard and Gizmodo)