Sydney man avoids jail after 3D printing guns

A NSW judge has ruled that Sicen Sun wanted 'his work as a craftsman acknowledged' when he advertised a 3D-printed gun replica for sale on Facebook for AU$1 million.

A 28-year-old Sydneysider who 3D printed guns with the aim of selling them on Facebook has on Tuesday been given a suspended sentence by the New South Wales District Court.

Sicen Sun 3D printed replica guns and advertised one of them for sale for AU$1 million on the social network site.

Judge Penelope Wass sentenced the man to a 12-month suspended sentence after finding he posed a low overall risk to the community and assessing him as having a low risk of reoffending.

"No gun was loaded nor was it capable of being loaded with ammunition," she said. "They were being used in fantasy role-play games."

The judge accepted that Sun did not intend to sell the replica gun for such a high price, but instead craved recognition for his work. She added, however, that the replicas "were not stored securely in the offendor's home, making them arguably more likely to be stolen".

Sun was arrested in 2017 and had pleaded guilty to charges including possessing a digital blueprint for the manufacture of firearms, manufacturing a pistol without a licence permit, and possessing an unauthorised pistol.

"With 20/20 hindsight, I just realise how silly, idiotic, stupid, and naive my actions were," he said during his NSW District Court sentence hearing earlier this month.

"I could not even begin to contemplate that a hobby would land me in such strife."

Sun, who dresses up as pop culture characters and was previously described by a lawyer as "something of a fanboy", said he meant for the replica firearms to be used as costume props.

In November 2015, the New South Wales government amended the Firearms Act 1996 and the Weapons Prohibition Act 1998 to include offences relating to 3D-printed guns.

Owning or using a 3D-printed gun was already illegal under existing legislation and is treated the same way as a conventional firearm; however, under the amendment, it is now considered an offence to possess digital blueprints for the manufacture of firearms on 3D printers or electronic milling machines.

In the United States last month, a judge ruled it illegal to put blueprints for 3D-printed guns on the internet, the ABC reported, hours before they were set to be uploaded to the internet.

The decision blocked a settlement that US President Donald Trump had reached with a Texas-based company to put files online, the report said, adding that some gun rights activists are saying the threat of 3D-printed guns is being overblown.

In a statement earlier this month, Attorney General Jeff Sessions affirmed a pledge to prosecute makers of 3D-printed guns.

"Under federal law, it is illegal to manufacture or possess plastic firearms that are undetectable," he said. "The Department of Justice will use every available tool to vigorously enforce this prohibition.

"We will not stand for the evasion, especially the flouting, of current law and will take action to ensure that indivduals who violate the law by making plastic firearms and rendering them undetectable will be prosecuted to the fullest extent."

With AAP

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