While the US is scratching its head about what to do about 3D printed guns finding their way into the hands of criminals and right-wing nutjobs, the Australian cops want them banned.
According to Gizmodo, the New South Wales Police Force downloaded the 3D printable weapon known as The Liberator to print for themselves, and it scared the billabongs out of them. According to the Police Commissioner: “they are truly undetectable, truly untraceable, cheap, easy to make”. They have the potential to turn Australia into the Wild West.
Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said that the NSW Police bought themselves a 3D printer for $1,700 and decided to test how easy it would be to build their own gun. They downloaded the blueprints for The Liberator from the internet and printed out two weapons to test fire.
They said that they 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 centimetres. In other words, it could result in a fatality if fired at someone.
However, the second gun failed and the barrel exploded. Based on that, the failure rates of these guns are going to be jolly high and you will not know if you will kill yourself or your target when you pull the trigger.
As the coppers say, either event is probably not going to be good.
The police service is lobbying to make the download and construction of 3D printed guns illegal in Australia. However the NSW Commissioner said you can’t stop the spread of The Liberator.
He said that he is less concerned about the guns being used by crooks than he is by the prospect of non-criminals fascinated by 3D printing building one for a laugh.
It would be all fun and games until the gun blew up. He thinks the only way around this is to educate people so that they know that it is bloody dangerous and making one is a good way to remove yourself from the gene pool.