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Australian Police Move To Make 3D Printed Guns Illegal 551

Posted by samzenpus
from the no-way-mate dept.
lukehopewell1 writes "'Untraceable, undetectable, cheap and freely available.' That's how Australian police have described the 3D-printable gun known as The Liberator today as they announce that they will be seeking to make the download, construction and possession of these weapons illegal. In their tests, Police printed the 15 parts required to assemble The Liberator in 27 hours and assembled it within 60 seconds with a firing pin fashioned out of a steel nail. The two guns were test fired into a block of resin designed to simulate human muscle, and the first bullet penetrated the resin block up to 17 centimeters. NSW Police Ballistics division confirm that it would be a fatal wound if pointed at someone."
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Australian Police Move To Make 3D Printed Guns Illegal

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:32PM (#43809479)

    It's also used to make guns...

    • by batwingTM (202524) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:43PM (#43809533) Homepage

      A creative enough person could kill another without a weapon, and a weapon could be made from many ordinary household objects.

      But this gun is only a gun, an unliscenced, unregulated gun that has proven to be less safe than an actual gun.
      I see no problem which what the police are saying here, but it is a very difficult thing to regulate.

      • by c0lo (1497653) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:04AM (#43809661)

        I see no problem which what the police are saying here, but it is a very difficult thing to regulate.

        No need of additional regulation, in Australia is already forbidden to make/assemble guns without a license. The actual point they were trying to get across:

        “My greater concern is that someone would do this, make one, and then suffer the consequences and kill themselves [after a catastrophic failure]. They don’t want to shoot someone, they’re just fascinated [by 3D printing]. If we didn’t alert someone to what happened to us, we would be considered negligent.

        • by nospam007 (722110) * on Friday May 24, 2013 @03:22AM (#43810407)

          “My greater concern is that someone would do this, make one, and then suffer the consequences and kill themselves [after a catastrophic failure]. "

          Think of it as evolution in action.

          • by Joce640k (829181)

            “My greater concern is that someone would do this, make one, and then suffer the consequences and kill themselves

            If police don't want people to print guns they should just fill Youtube with videos of plastic guns exploding.

            Their current (idiotic) policy is just causing a Streisand effect.

      • by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:20AM (#43809749)

        I see a problem with making the downloading of plans illegal.

      • by thegarbz (1787294) on Friday May 24, 2013 @03:51AM (#43810519)

        A creative enough person could kill another without a weapon, and a weapon could be made from many ordinary household objects.

        But this gun is only a gun, an unliscenced, unregulated gun that has proven to be less safe than an actual gun.
        I see no problem which what the police are saying here, but it is a very difficult thing to regulate.

        There's no need to regulate. In fact killing another person is already illegal.

        • by BlueStrat (756137) on Friday May 24, 2013 @05:58AM (#43810933)

          A creative enough person could kill another without a weapon, and a weapon could be made from many ordinary household objects.

          But this gun is only a gun, an unliscenced, unregulated gun that has proven to be less safe than an actual gun.
          I see no problem which what the police are saying here, but it is a very difficult thing to regulate.

          There's no need to regulate. In fact killing another person is already illegal.

          But, you don't understand! This is completely different! This is killing somebody with something built with plans downloaded over the internet!! On a computer!!!

          Works for US patent submissions, right?

          What in the world are they gonna do when the next-gen version of a firearm is invented and the plans widely released/distributed, and that can be made cheaply, quickly, and simply with common materials, and possibly doesn't even use "bullets" as we know them at all? Maybe some sort of electromagnetically-accelerated "micro-needler" or "micro-flechette" weapon, or something accelerated-plasma-based? "Give me a phased plasma rifle in a 40 watt range."

          I must say I have a fundamental problem with a government declaring that, under threat of death or imprisonment, I'm not allowed to defend my family, my community, or myself, and with being denied the current and essential tools for that defense. Police do not protect. They draw chalk outlines and *hopefully* find and arrest the suspected perpetrator(s) after the crime/violence has already occurred.

          The right to personal self-defense and to the commonly-employed and current tools used to exercise that basic right to defend your life, that of your family, and of fellow-citizens, are primary and essential human rights. Without them, all other rights are meaningless. How does one exercise a right when dead? How free can one be if they have no legal ability to defend their right to continue living?

          To remove the ability of people to defend themselves and their families is to make them a slave to anyone stronger, multiple attackers, or anyone who is armed. It gives the elderly, older children, and women a force-equalizer against a large and powerful male attacker. A rape whistle does no good when you're grabbed by the throat and being strangled. Likewise, the police are no help when a deadly threat is imminent and officers are minutes away at best.

          I'll just leave this here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pa-lNiIDsFM [youtube.com]

          Strat

      • by Archangel Michael (180766) on Friday May 24, 2013 @11:57AM (#43814251) Journal

        It is like this: Clubs and hammers kill more people in the USA than Rifles do. However, Rifles are big, loud, scary things while hammer and clubs are not. Therefore we go after Rifles rather than the criminals.

        What the government has done is said "The internet is illegal, because you can learn how to do things we do not approve of". This is tyranny.

    • by multiben (1916126)
      Ok, so not only did you not RTFA, but you misunderstood the summary. The police aren't banning 3D printing. They're not banning the material used in 3D printing. They are banning 3D printed guns. That's it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        They are banning the download of files which contain descriptions of 15 shapes. Australia is a vile pit of censorship and anti knowledge. They already ban guns in Australia, no new laws are needed.

        • by quenda (644621)

          They already ban guns in Australia, no new laws are needed.

          Not this again. We have millions of registered guns in Australia. We like our huntin' too. But handguns and automatic weapons have never been a part of the culture.

          • by kramulous (977841) on Friday May 24, 2013 @07:42AM (#43811323)

            We have millions of registered guns in Australia. We like our huntin' too. But handguns and automatic weapons have never been a part of the culture.

            Agreed. I'm all for free speech and everything but I don't want a gun culture society. We've seen what that becomes with the US. Americans don't see it but everybody else thinks it is madness. Guns are just not necessary in modern day to day living.

            I support the NSW police, aka government, on this one 100%. Make the possession of printing instructions for a weapon of this type illegal (as is the possession of certain types of images) but not the printer itself (images in general).

            • by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@ n e tzero.net> on Friday May 24, 2013 @10:18AM (#43812921) Homepage Journal

              I don't think you have a clue what life is like in America if you think the "gun culture" is really that bad. Drive-by shootings and gun violence is incredibly rare, and in fact the incidence of it happening has dropped compared to the past in spite of (not because of) gun control laws that may or may not exist in various parts of America.

              Don't go believing the utter distortion and lies you hear in news reports and Hollywood movies. They are intentionally distorting trivial things that ordinary people living ordinary lives rarely experience. In America, you might see some guns if you happen to go over to a neighbor's house and they show you their gun collection, if you happen to go hunting with them, or as a side-arm for a security guard or police officer. That is about it. Drive-by shootings are reported in the news because they are rare things, not because they are everyday happenings.

              I think you would find life in Wyoming (a state with very relaxed gun control laws) mostly no different than you would find in NSW for the most part, other than the accent of what people are speaking and perhaps a slightly warmer and humid climate in Australia. You would certainly see about the same number of guns in ordinary commerce and work life for most of the same professions.

          • by O('_')O_Bush (1162487) on Friday May 24, 2013 @07:58AM (#43811431)
            I think what you mean is that they stopped being part of Australia's culture when more restrictive ownership laws were passed in the 1980s. Handgun shooting was a wildly popular sport in Australia from the 1950s up until that time.
      • by kasperd (592156) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:57AM (#43809923) Homepage Journal

        The police aren't banning 3D printing. They're not banning the material used in 3D printing. They are banning 3D printed guns.

        I see a problem with the police banning anything in the first place. That decision should be made by democratically elected lawmakers, not the police.

      • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Friday May 24, 2013 @01:24AM (#43810023)

        No they're not. 3D printed guns are already banned, they're just reiterating it.

    • by Cenan (1892902)

      Hands carry weapons, hands are weapons --- we should outlaw the use of hands. There is a line, and I think they chose a pretty good starting point for their line with this.

  • ...at least they didn't move to make 3D printing illegal.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      It's a sad situation when the law enforcers decide what the laws are.

      • Re:Oh, well... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Capsaicin (412918) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:47PM (#43809573)

        It's a sad situation when the law enforcers decide what the laws are.

        They don't and they can't, they are only suggesting. Deciding what the laws actually are is the job of the Murdoch press.

      • Re:Oh, well... (Score:5, Informative)

        by multiben (1916126) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:48PM (#43809581)
        In Australia, where this article is about, the police *don't* decide the laws. But as enforcers of the law they are an important part of the consultation process for developing laws - they are often the ones who encounter these things first hand in their day to day work.
      • Re:Oh, well... (Score:5, Informative)

        by c0lo (1497653) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:53PM (#43809611)

        It's a sad situation when the law enforcers decide what the laws are.

        Nothing special about the 3D printed plastic gun: unauthorized manufacturing (or even assembling) a firearm of any kind in Australia is already prohibited (so no, this is not a case in which the police would decide what the laws are. As they aren't in control of the downloads, they can't have a say in banning the download either).

        What the TFS fails to mention: the NSW police guys seems genuinely more worried about someone hurting oneself in an attempt to fire one (the first gun printed by the NSW police exploded during tests) :

        “My greater concern is that someone would do this, make one, and then suffer the consequences and kill themselves [after a catastrophic failure]. They don’t want to shoot someone, they’re just fascinated [by 3D printing]. If we didn’t alert someone to what happened to us, we would be considered negligent.

        “Don’t try it, no matter what end of this gun you can be on, you could die. Do not download, do not manufacture The Liberator,” the Commissioner concluded.

        • by AHuxley (892839)
          Re "As they aren't in control of the downloads, they can't have a say in banning the download either)"
          Recall http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Transaction_Reports_and_Analysis_Centre [wikipedia.org] that looks at all bank/cash transactions in Australia.
          Its a room with a few racks of computers given the population size of Australia.
          How many submarine cable landing sites in Australia? In theory every request via BT could be looked at for that ~file "checksum".
          That would get around average file renaming or the nee
          • by c0lo (1497653)

            Re "As they aren't in control of the downloads, they can't have a say in banning the download either)" ...
            How many submarine cable landing sites in Australia? In theory every request via BT could be looked at for that ~file "checksum".

            In practice, you didn't hear of Tor and/or proxy SSL/HTTPS services, did you?

    • by Dr Max (1696200)
      i wouldn't speak too soon, this is australia after all (it's still illigal to change your own light bulb in victoria).
    • Re:Oh, well... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:12AM (#43809717) Homepage Journal

      Shamelessly omitted from the summary:

      What’s interesting about the second device they tested, however, was the “catastrophic failure” of the weapon. Translation? It exploded. The plastic gave way to the brutal force of an exploding .38 caliber bullet and the barrel exploded.

      [...]

      The NSW Commissioner said that the realist in him believes that you can never stop the spread of The Liberator — and he’s right — but at least they can tell people how dangerous they are.

      “My greater concern is that someone would do this, make one, and then suffer the consequences and kill themselves [after a catastrophic failure]. They don’t want to shoot someone, they’re just fascinated [by 3D printing]. If we didn’t alert someone to what happened to us, we would be considered negligent.

  • by JustOK (667959)

    You could poke an eye out with that

  • by Capsaicin (412918) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:37PM (#43809503)

    OK maybe the downloading part is not yet covered, but I'm pretty sure in NSW unlicensed manufacture is already an offence, as is possession obviously.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:40PM (#43809525)

    I remember the old days of people hosting bulletin boards on their Commodore 64's. If the sys op was kind ... or if you had something to share, you'd get to download the stash of dirty pictures in glorious 8 bit color. Then they passed laws against it and now you can't find porn on line anymore.

  • by khallow (566160)
    If they were smart, they'd make a lot of noise about these things, but not actually make them illegal. As a police officer, what would you rather be facing? A handgun that is competently made or a fad which barely fires? Or for that matter, a semiautomatic rifle that has been modified to shoot automatic?

    You'd want the "Liberator" in the hands of any crazies you happened to face. It's still dangerous, but the odds are better.
  • ...is harder to get in Australia so improvised weapons are not going to be as much use as in the US.

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      Ammunition ... is harder to get in Australia

      I wouldn't [ebay.com.au] bet [gizmodo.com] (second link to show that the charges may be powerful enough).

  • by Nkwe (604125) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:46PM (#43809565)

    NSW Police Ballistics division confirm that it would be a fatal wound if pointed at someone.

    I hope you would have to actually shoot someone for it to be fatal.

    • No, no - because it's a 3D printed gun, it's in a super class of gun, like a laser on fricken' shark's head. You just point it, and zammo!, instant death! That's why the mere download, construction or possession of these guns must be outlawed.
    • I hope you would have to actually shoot someone for it to be fatal.

      Nope, it sucks so much that 1 times out of three it explodes in the shooters hand when fired. So it could well be fatal even when fired into a sand bag... fatal to the shooter himself, that is.

      Of course, over time, the design will improve, and 3d printers will improve too, so eventually it will be just like any other gun: fatal only to the intended target, but still undetectable and difficult to regulate!

  • by buback (144189) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:46PM (#43809567)

    3d-printing of guns: the quickest way to create legislation regulating the sale of bullets.

    • by quenda (644621)

      3d-printing of guns: the quickest way to create legislation regulating the sale of bullets.

      Yeah, so quick it happened decades ago.

  • by Satanboy (253169) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:02AM (#43809651)

    It sounds like the police have never heard of PA Luty. http://thehomegunsmith.com/ [thehomegunsmith.com] check out some of the designs folks. You could make a MACHINE GUN that would be fully functional from nothing more than parts you bought at a hardware store. It would cost you about 200 bucks or so in tools and parts.

  • So this clown of a police commissioner says his greatest fear is of criminals blowing themselves up with it. Are you serious? Are you not just a little bit more worried of people with a grudge against police using it against them, or even innocent people?
  • Good fucking luck.
  • by houbou (1097327)
    I believe the australians are correct in making it illegal.
  • Cody Wilson thinks that he's enforcing his 1st and 2nd amenment rights, but the truth is... the US is already awash with guns... and if the US government wanted to take them away, they have plenty of firepower to wield over people armed with a piece of plastic. The rise of the 3D printed gun is moot in the US because REAL guns are easy to get and cheap as well.

    No...., all that 3D printed guns are going to do is introduce gun culture to countries that have decided to do away with guns.
    Only the criminals will

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday May 24, 2013 @12:40AM (#43809851) Homepage

    Police printed the 15 parts required to assemble The Liberator in 27 hours and assembled it within 60 seconds with a firing pin fashioned out of a steel nail.

    27 hours for a .38? You could make a dozen 12 gauges [youtube.com] in that time, and really get your rampage on. Let me know when they start regulating black pipe and twine.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday May 24, 2013 @02:04AM (#43810123)

    Its over. The guns are going to flow.

    Doubtless they'll try something with bullets. But making your own bullets isn't that hard either.

    There are a dozen over the counter chemicals that could be purchased, mixed, and cooked to create explosives similar to gun powder. And then all you're dealing with is the bullet jacket, bullet, and primer. I've seen hunters that refill their own ammunition. They pick up the spent cartridge and save them. Then when they've got nothing better to do they wash them off, replace the primer, fill the cartridge with more powder, and squeeze a new bullet into it. The jackets don't even need to be made out brass or metal for that matter. A fully paper cartridge is entirely possible.

    And beyond that, the machines that can print in metal are dropping in price as we speak. Still far beyond the means of the end user but you could say the same thing of the plastic prototype printers in the 1980s. In 30 years we will probably have 3d printers printing in metal.

    And that doesn't even address the assembly capability and subtractive machining capability of many machines.

    If 3d printers scare you, I can buy a metal lathe that can make gun parts out of steel for not much more then a thousand dollars. The technology isn't that complicated. Put block of steel in vice... tighten vice... wait for drill to remove all unwanted material. Remove finished part. The parts have to be designed to accommodate the limitations of a 2 axis lathe but if we're just going for a functional gun... it works.

    Its actually surprising we don't have more home made guns throughout the world. It is really quite simple.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Friday May 24, 2013 @02:13AM (#43810141)

    Surely it would be better to make killing people illegal and not try to legislate what people can construct at home in 60 seconds after a 3D printing is completely.

    If killing people is already illegal, then why do they think that if they make something illegal that can be done secretly and completely undetectable in the privacy of one's home is going to prevent any crime? Surely the criminal that is intent on using a gun illegally isn't going to shy away from downloading plans and printing them.

  • amendments ..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thephydes (727739) on Friday May 24, 2013 @03:10AM (#43810351)
    Geeze, Australia doesn't have this or that amendment to the constitution - Guys we ARE NOT a state of the USA. We have our own laws, and currently (legal) gun ownership is restricted. Frankly I believe that Australia is generally a safer place since the Howard government restricted legal gun ownership. Yes I know I'll be modded down and adversely commented on by those of you in the US who have the "right to bear arms", but frankly I don't give a flying fuck about your rights - I'm only interested in my rights and the safety of me and my family. So yes 3D printed guns should be banned here in oz. And I know that I'l get the storm of "yes but the crims and bikie gangs can get guns". Yes they can, and as far as I'm concerned they can go and shoot each other.
    • I'd mod you up, but I already commented in this thread and got buried by dickheads.

      As to the cowboy Americans: If you don't trust your government, what hope have you got WITHOUT one?
      Having a government that doesn't do what you want it to do sucks sometimes.... it's called compromise and it's how grown-ups solve tricky issues.
      The crap we all put up with from our leaders at times is a much better alternative to having all-out anarchy, and deep down even you understand this.

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