No more 3D printing guns for the UK. Since the UK Home Office has sharpened its regulations on production of firearms, it’s highly illegal to create, buy or sell a 3D printed gun or gun components in Great Britain. Violators of this law could end up being held in prison for up to 10 years. Great Britain follows the example of the United States, where the Undetectable Firearms Act will be extended today.
However, there is a big difference between regulation in the UK and the US. Great Britain prohibits all 3D printed guns, unless properly licensed. The States have still failed to ban the 3D printed gun entirely, because it only forbids people to carry guns with them that can pass a metal detector, such as plastic guns. Creators of 3D printed plastic guns have found something for this: they insert a little metallic part into their 3D printed plastic guns in order to make their guns legal. However, such metallic parts are easily removable and opponents think this could lead to dangerous situations.
Because of this, this ban of 3D printed guns in the UK could easily be called historical. Even though the 1968 Firearms Act already banned weapons in the UK made by printing their components, such as the Liberator, this 2013 update is a groundbreaking renewal of the UK’s law. The law was sharpened after many experts had expressed their concerns about 3D printed guns, especially the plastic versions of the guns. A big UK story linked to 3D printing last month was about a house in Manchester, where the police found a suspected 3D printed gun. It was thought to be the first 3D printed gun in the UK.
In addition to the law renewal, UK Crime Prevention Minister Norman Baker has made a statement: “There has been an enormous amount of interest in recent months in 3D printed guns and the potential dangers they pose. There is no evidence that they are in widespread circulation, but the coalition government has reviewed existing firearms legislation and made it absolutely clear that it is an offence to own or manufacture a 3D printed gun without a licence.”