Japan makes first arrest over 3-D printer guns

May 08, 2014
Seized guns made with a 3-D printer are displayed at a police station in Yokohama on May 8, 2014

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

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.

They also recovered a 3-D 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 3-D 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 3-D 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.

Seized guns made with a 3-D printer are displayed at a police station in Yokohama on May 8, 2014

The rapid development of 3-D 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 United States 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 or have ever come into contact with them.

Explore further: Aircraft set for minute-by-minute tracking

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

At 11th hour, Congress debates plastic gun ban (Update 2)

Dec 03, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to renew a 25-year-old prohibition against firearms that can evade metal detectors and X-ray machines just as 3-D printers are increasingly able to produced plastic weapons.

US House votes to renew all-plastic gun ban (Update)

Dec 03, 2013

The U.S. House of Representatives voted Tuesday to renew a 25-year-old prohibition against firearms that can evade metal detectors and X-ray machines just as 3-D printers are increasingly able to produce plastic weapons.

Recommended for you

Aircraft set for minute-by-minute tracking

22 hours ago

All commercial flights worldwide could soon send out an automated signal every minute in times of distress to help rescuers find downed aircraft more easily.

2011 vehicle models with highest and lowest death rates

Jan 29, 2015

The Insurance Institute for Highway safety examined fatalities involving 2011 model year vehicles, looking at how many driver fatalities occurred in a particular model over the course of a year of operation, expressed as ...

Obama sees need to move on drone rules now (Update)

Jan 27, 2015

President Barack Obama says the wayward quadcopter that crashed on the White House grounds—flown by an off-duty intelligence employee—shows that the U.S. must take steps to ensure commercial and consumer ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Argiod
not rated yet May 08, 2014
If you can chamber and fire any form of standard firearm round; it should be considered a firearm; and is subject to all the laws regarding the manufacture and possession of same.
Sorry, fellas; but it IS illegal...

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.