In late November, the Philadelphia City Council became the first government to ban the manufacture and sale of 3D printed guns. I predicted at the time that the passing of such a law would lead other cities to pass laws banning 3D printed guns, but I didn't think national governments would get on the "ban wagon" just yet.
The UK Home Office recently announced an update to its Firearms Licensing Law with a clause that explicitly bans 3D printed guns. The newly added bit is under the part of the law dealing with prohibited weapons and ammunition. Here's the full text:
The manufacture, purchase, sale and possession of 3D printed firearms, ammunition or their component parts is fully captured by the provisions in section 57(1) of the Firearms Act 1968. The definition of firearm in the Act includes any component parts. 3D printed firearms are subject to strict control in the following respects:
a. under section 1 of the 1968 Act, it is an offence for an individual to possess, purchase or acquire any component part of a firearm without a certificate;
b. under section 3 of the 1968 Act, it is an offence for a person to manufacture or possess for sale a component part of a firearm acting by way of trade or business; and
c. under section 5 of the 1968 Act, it is an offence for a person to manufacture, possess, purchase, sell, transfer or acquire a component part of a prohibited weapon without the authority of the Secretary of State for the Home Department or by Scottish Ministers in Scotland.
Of course, the above law only punishes those who create 3D printed guns without a license so it's not any different from the original wording of the 1968 Firearms Act that prohibited the manufacture and sale of firearms without a license. The law was just updated with new wording to clarify that 3D printed weapons fell under the already existing law.
So, what if you're caught making a 3D printed gun in the UK without a license? The punishments vary, but the maximum penalty is 10 years in prison. It should be noted that the UK prohibits not just the manufacture of 3D printed weapons, but also their components. If you're caught simply making a barrel or a grip without a license, it could mean prison time.
If you want to read all 253 pages of the UK's
boring fascinating gun laws, you can do so here.