Man arrested for possessing guns created by 3-D printer

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) -- A 27-year-old man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of illegally possessing two guns created by a three-dimensional printer.

It is the first time Japan's firearm control law has been applied to the possession of guns produced by 3-D printers.

The suspect, Yoshitomo Imura, an employee at a college, kept the plastic guns at his home in Kawasaki, Kanagawa Prefecture, in mid-April, the police said. No bullets for the guns have been found.

The police launched an investigation after Imura posted video footage on the Internet of the guns, which he claimed to have produced himself, along with blueprints for them earlier this year, according to investigative sources.

They searched Imura's home last month and seized five guns, two of which could fire real bullets, the sources said.

Imura, who purchased a 3-D printer at around 60,000 yen through the Internet, was quoted as telling investigators during the search, "I produced the guns, but I didn't think it was illegal."

"I can't complain about the arrest if the police regard them as real guns," he said.

They believe Imura downloaded blueprints for producing guns by 3-D printers from websites hosted overseas, which could constitute a violation of a law banning the production of firearms.

It is expected that 3-D printers will contribute to cutting the cost of producing auto and home electronics parts. But they also enable easy creation of firearms, with a U.S. gun maker announcing last year it succeeded in firing real bullets using a gun produced by a 3-D printer.

Security authorities around the world are on alert as data for creating guns using the printers are easily accessible on the Internet and the guns cannot be detected by metal detectors if they are made of resin.

May 08, 2014(Mainichi Japan)