3D printed guns: the Imura case study from Japan

More input to our ongoing analysis of "DiDIY vs gun control" issues comes from the so-called Imura case in Japan. Quoting 3ders:

  • Police reportedly raided the home of the then-27 year old Imura in Kawasaki City, where they discovered five 3D printed pistols. While they didn't find any ammunition, at least two of these guns could be loaded with lethal bullets.
  • Imura reportedly admitted to producing these guns in his own home using a 60,000 yen (less than $600) 3D printer. He also posted a clip online that featured at least one fireable gun labelled as 'Made in Japan'.

Eventually, a two year sentence was handed down to Imura because:

  • "Imura could have caused major damage to society as he had made data for the 3D models of his firearms easily available on the internet".
  • showing that "anyone can illegally manufacture guns with a 3D printer, flaunting their knowledge and skill... is an offense to make our country’s strict gun controls into a dead letter"
  • (from 3ders): The judge said that these actions encouraged imitation and that he therefore bore grave criminal responsibility. The judge reportedly said 'do not make the gun as moral as its manufacturer.'

Since Imura's arrest in May, a number of Japanese distributors of 3D printing technology have organized a '3D printer Promotion Council' to both educate people about the possibilities of this technology, but also to warn consumers of its dangers.

Unsurprisingly (source: 3dprint.com), "[Imura] has become a bit of a hero to some, especially within the FOSSCAD community, a decentralized community of designers and gun enthusiasts who are known for releasing numerous 3D models of gun parts and entire weapons. One particular member of the community, known as ‘Wayfairy,’ has taken a particular interest in the Imura story. In fact he has set out to create a 3D printable gun honoring the incarcerated gun manufacturer, called the ‘Imura Pistol.’"As far as we ofthe DiDIY project are concerned, a particularly relevant material about this story, and the general "DiDIY vs gun control" issue, are the comments of the opposite "sides" in this debate on the 3D-Printed Imura revolver, which is worth reading entirely.