In October 2023, the National Crimes Agency called on Government to make 3D gun blueprints illegal. See a report in the Guardian here.
Further alarming news now emerges from Sky News in Scotland saying, “3D-printed guns have been recorded by Police Scotland for the first time, according to new figures”.
According to Sky News, “Two incidents were logged last year, with the force working with key partners to prevent the risk posed by the manufacture, distribution, and possession of the crafted firearms. Figures obtained by justice and social affairs magazine 1919 revealed that an incident occurred in the Argyll and West Dunbartonshire division in April, followed by another in Tayside a month later. In both cases, the productions were sent to police laboratories for forensic analysis. Forensic services flagged the incidents in a report to the Scottish Police Authority in October, stating that the “complex and novel cases” required “additional capacity to complete”. Read the full story here.
In 2017, Anti Copying in Design (ACID) held a conference on 3D printing. At the time, they raised concerns that there was a lacuna in the law which needed remedying. Namely, to introduce criminal provisions for the intentional infringement of an unregistered design. By introducing such a law the police could easily prosecute and criminals could face up to ten years in prison. Policy makers did not listen, and our suggestion fell on deaf ears. Seven years later following our warning of a growing threat in the US, on home turf this threat is becoming a reality.
It was especially worrying that the statutory enforcement officers were already expressing concern about their lack of teeth to take on organised criminals using 3D printing to unlawfully line their pockets. And even more worrying that the Government is still adopting “A wait and see” approach. By the time they respond it could be too late. The question must be asked whether the concerns expressed by the Police recently about the widespread availability of 3D printed guns is facilitated by the lack of IP laws creating criminal offences for deliberate copying of 3D designs.
See our reportage in in 2018 here.