Swedish Police Uncover 3D Printed Handguns

Swedish police are seeing an increase in 3D printed hand guns, with a recent spike in the city of Malmö. On two separate occasions in the past year, local authorities have seized 3D printed handguns in the Scania capital, the third largest city in Sweden.

One incident saw a gun uncovered during a city-wide criminal sweep. Police reported suspicions upon finding a home-made gun built almost entirely of plastic. Upon launching a special investigation, the gun was confirmed as having been 3D printed. Reports say the hand-crafted gun was similar to a Czech submachine gun known as the Scorpion, but was of a different caliber. Certain parts were likely derived from other weapons, while the majority was 3D printed and in working condition.

The weapons were seized in January and February, and have since been tested by the Swedish National Forensic Centre, the NFC. According to Malmö police chief Stefan Sintéus, engineers performed test firings of the weapons on six different occasions, and can confirm they are indeed in working order. The firearms therefore qualify as illegal weapons.

The construction method presents a problem for police. Under Swedish law, the parts themselves are not illegal to possess; only after they are assembled into a working firearm are they in violation of the Arms Act. Sintéus is intent on updating those terms, however.

“It’s obvious that the aim is to put the pieces together into a weapon. The only thing missing is a gun barrel and a bolt, so I call for a discussion of the limits on when it [counts] as a crime,” he said. According to the Malmö police chief, 3D printers present countless possibilities for those who wish to manufacture their own weapons, and Sintéus is concerned that the legislation cannot keep up. “It’s not possible to criminalize a 3D printer, but it is nevertheless true that we now have people in the criminal environment that [possess] these kinds of weapons,” he noted.

The police’s stance is that the 3D printed gun ought to be classified as an ordinary gun, but ultimately that will be up to the court to decide. These may have been rare incidents within Malmö, but 3D printed guns are a growing trend globally. “We know that it’s more common in Europe,” Sintéus said.

Benedict. “Swedish Police Uncover 3D Printed Handguns in Malmo.” 3ders.org. N.p., 22 May 2017. Web. 30 May 2017.

Posted in 3D Printing, 3D Technology Blog.

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