Spain Police Raided an Illegal 3D Printed Gun Workshop

Recently, the Spain police revealed that in September last year, they raided an illegal 3D printed gun workshop located in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Canary Islands. This is also the first case of using 3D printing technology to make weapons illegally in Spain.

The Spain police found two 3D printers and a batch of illegal 3D printed guns and parts including a carbine with a scope, an assault rifle, 9 cartridge holders, 2 silencers, and etc. In addition, more than 30 manuals on how to use 3D printers to make guns and homemade explosives were found in this raid.

The Spain police believe that, 3D printed weapons have formed a complete chain of interests, and the procedures of 3D printed weapons are also very mature. And the workshop is able to 3D print most gun parts and assembles them together into a gun within only a few minutes.

From the video of the raid, we can see that one of the 3D printers was still printing gun parts, and a police officer was disassembling a 3D printed pistol.

In the raid, the Spain police arrested the owner of the workshop and several employees who worked for him.

When was the first 3D printed gun made?

Liberator – the first open source 3D printable gun (image source: Wikepedia)

The first 3D printed gun was designed by Cody Wilson, a crypto-anarchist and the founder of the Texas open-source gunsmith organization Defense Distributed and was named as Liberator after the FP-45 liberator. The gun was released on internet on May 6, 2013.

In only two days, the 3D files of the gun reached 100, 000 downloads and US department of states insisted Defense Distributed to remove the download.

3D printed gun can be deadly firearms

According to a test performed in May, 2013 by the experts of Austrian Interior Ministry, a 3D printed gun shot a bullet 9mm deep into a gelatin block, which mimicked the density of a human body. It proved a 3D printed gun can be a deadly weapon.

Why is 3d printed gun so controversial?

The first thing is that 3D printed gun can be neither traced by the police nor detected by metal scanners. Hence if there is a gun shot, police has no trace to follow. Also it’s hard to detect a 3D printed gun at airport, subways and any other public transportation hubs. Simply to say, it raises public safety concern.

Another thing is that most 3D files of firearms are open source on internet. The situation makes firearms available to anyone, irrespective of age, mental condition or even criminal records.

In a word, 3D printable firearms increase the potential of gunshots and they are quite difficult to be monitored.

Different policies over 3D printed guns

As controversy continues, different policies over 3D printed guns exist.

In the member countries of European Union, manufacturing 3D printed weapons is already banned. In the United States, the situation is a little bit complicated. Back in 2020, the Trump administration planned to let people to share 3D printed gun blueprints online. But a coalition of 20 states and the District of Columbia was founded to sue against the federal government and the plan.

In January, 2021, the Singapore parliament issued a control bill over guns, weapons and explosives. The bill explicitly included strict control over 3D printed guns.

Previous article Restructuring Announcement