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First prison term for making gun with 3D printer handed down in Japan

October 20, 2014, 17:34 UTC+3
The young Japanese bought the printer legally and downloaded the drawings from the public sources on the Internet
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The first plastic firearm made with the use of a 3D printer (archive)

The first plastic firearm made with the use of a 3D printer (archive)

© EPA/DEFENSE DISTRIBUTED / HANDOUT

TOKYO, October 20. /TASS/ Yoshitomo Imura, 28, earlier detained for possessing a 3D printed gun, was sentenced to 2 years in prison. There was no precedent for such case in Japanese court practice.

It is worthwhile noting that the young Japanese bought the printer legally and downloaded the drawings from the public sources on the Internet. However, local law enforcement agencies still considered it breach of the law prohibiting all citizens of the country, with some minor exceptions, from keeping of weapon.

Controversial case

The incident drew a lot of attention in social community and local mass media. There has been a heated discussion on whether this case should be interpreted as a crime and whether the accused deserves such a harsh punishment.

The convicted himself repeatedly declared that he made the weapon out of sheer curiosity and had no idea that his act could break the law in any way.

A special unit dealing with tracking of Internet releases of weapon drawings for 3D printers has already been created in Japan. Among ordinary online users there is an opinion that the tough sentence was aimed at frightening citizens off the idea of printing weapons at home.

Guns made of plastic pose a real danger both for the wider public and manufacturers. Series of experiments showed that it can explode in shooter’s hands after only a few fire shots.

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