Japanese man arrested over 3D printed gun

Japanese man arrested over 3D printed gun

Summary: A Japanese man suspected of possessing guns made with a 3D printer has been arrested, in what is said to be the country's first such detention.

TOPICS: Emerging Tech, Japan

Officers who raided the home of Yoshitomo Imura, a 27-year-old college employee, confiscated five weapons, two of which had the potential to fire lethal bullets, broadcaster NHK said on Thursday.

They also recovered a 3D printer from the home in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, but did not find any ammunition for the guns, Jiji Press reported.

It is the first time Japan's firearm control law has been applied to the possession of guns produced by 3D printers, Jiji reported.

The police investigation began after the suspect allegedly posted video footage on the internet showing him shooting the guns, the Mainichi Shimbun said on its website.

Officers suspect that he downloaded blueprints for making the guns with 3D printers from websites hosted overseas, the newspaper said.

The daily said the suspect largely admitted the allegations, saying: "It is true that I made them, but I did not think it was illegal."

The police refused to confirm the reports, although broadcasters showed footage of Imura being taken in for questioning.

The rapid development of 3D printing technology, which allows relatively cheap machines to construct complex physical objects by building up layers of polymer, has proved a challenge for legislators around the world.

Weapons assembled from parts produced by the printers are not detectable with regular security equipment, like that found at airports, leading to fears that they may be used in hijackings.

The debate about home-made guns took off last year in the US when a Texas-based group, Defense Distributed, posted blueprints for a fully functional, 3-D-printed firearm, a single-shot pistol made almost entirely out of hard polymer plastic.

In December, the US Congress renewed a ban on guns that contain no metal.

While Japanese police are armed, Japan has very strict firearms control laws and few people possess guns or have ever come into contact with them.

Topics: Emerging Tech, Japan

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  • It doesn't really matter that you can print a gun

    seem the one thing both Republicans And Democrats agree on is that criminals should be able to buy guns at a gun show.

    So what matter is it that they could print a gun, as they can easily get a manufactured one at any show.?
    • more populist nonsense

      please do at least a little research before posting such populist fables. There are numerous interviews by credible researchers with criminals about the source of their guns. Gun show are almost non existent on the source list and count about as many as regular firearms dealers. They mostly obtain them from strawman purchases, direct theft, and purchase of stolen firearms.

      Around 40% of their firearms are from friends and relatives making strawman purchases which pass the NICS checks as do all the other strawman purchases. Stolen firearms (the next largest source) obviously do not even use NICS.

      All that is well and fully documented.
      • What is also well documented is that

        you can walk into any gun show in the area, and buy a gun without having to wait for a background check, as long as you have the cash, you are allowed to walk out with a gun.

        (they actually hired someone do just that while being filmed doing it the entire time).

        And given a chance to change that little annoying loophole, both sides decided against it.
  • One question I have is...

    ...even if the gun is plastic, wouldn't the bullets most likely be metal? In the end, I think another approach to courthouse and airline security is going to be required, as a ban on plastic weapons isn't likely to do anything useful. Mind you, the prospect of shootouts in close quarters doesn't exactly thrill me either.
    John L. Ries
    • right on

      John, your post is correct. However, if you were just going to do a hijacking or a single execution you could do it as a team or have an inside man to transport the bullets in. It increases the order of difficulty but does not present major obstacles.

      for instance, the Israelis used to use .22 derringer type guns for hits. They'd walk up behind the victim, put one or two into the back of the head and walk away. The gun got tossed and as it is very small it was easy to stick down a drain, etc., and was easily concealed in the hand as it was raised and fired. The .22 short makes a very small sound so it not particularly notable.

      In the meantime I can make a credible firearm from parts bought at the hardware store. We did it back in the 50's from a particular type of cigarette lighter, a rubber band and a small piece of copper tubing/pipe. My father was a master tool and die maker and could make firearms at home of good quality on a home multi-tool that you can buy from the ads in Popular Mechanics. In the Philippines about one third of the firearms confiscated are home made up to and including 12 gauge shotgun.

      Plastic presents its own particular problems, but is hardly 'new' in the context of home made firearms, nor of concealable firearms.