As an additive manufacturing industry media, we certainly have no interest in blowing fire on the ongoing hysteria around 3D printed guns. We don’t think 3D printed guns present a major threat and we consider them to be less dangerous and generally much harder to obtain than actual black market (or even over-the-counter) guns. However, this may be less true in very isolated nations such as Australia and New Zealand, where local media recently reported about seizures of 3D printed guns and even submachine guns.
On June 9th, the local online portal Stuff reported that police found a 3D printed firearm during a visit to a West Auckland gang pad, in what is believed to be the first such seizure in New Zealand. They made the surprising discovery of the homemade firearm during a visit to a Head Hunters gang house in Te Atatū on May 29, the portal exclusively revealed.
Organized crime staff from the Waitematā CIB say it is the first such 3D printed, homemade gun they have come across. The gun resembles a plastic toy, aside from the short metal barrel and the live rounds poking out from a homemade magazine. It is also marked with a phrase, which Stuff has chosen to obscure, that indicates it is a semi-automatic pistol caliber carbine designed and manufactured by an anonymous European online figure. The designer’s name also appears on the firearm. The gun is mostly composed of 3D printed elements but requires some metal parts to operate.
Last May, according to the Australian news portal 9News, two 3D printed submachine guns, stolen luxury cars, and explosives were seized and two men arrested in raids targeting the manufacture and supply of prohibited firearms. Mobile phones, electronic devices, handcuffs, drugs and $20,000 in cash were also found by police during searches across Sydney. Earlier this year, NSW police had seized another two 3D printed submachine guns, three standard firearms, and 28 sticks of explosives.