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by Sofia Villegas
09 January 2024
First-ever cases of 3D printed guns recorded in Scotland

Talks are underway on a strategy to tackle the issue | Alamy

First-ever cases of 3D printed guns recorded in Scotland

Police Scotland recorded the first cases of 3D-printed guns last year.  

Authorities logged two incidents halfway through last year, a freedom of information request by 1919 Magazine has revealed.  

Details showed the first incident occurred last April in the force's Argyll and West Dunbartonshire division, with the other happening a month later in Tayside. 

Talking to the magazinefirearms expert witness David Dyson said 3D printed weapons are quick to make and “a fairly practical person would be able to do it ”. 

Forensic services have also highlighted the issue, warning they “required additional capacity” to face the increasingly complex cases involving 3D-printed weapons. 

However, Dyson toned down security concerns and said: “But it’s not the Wild West – police are able to bring charges against people, and even just having the information may be enough in terms of terrorism-related charges.” 

Other experts agreed with Dyson, stating the guns are cheap and easy to produce yet unlikely to cause the public an increased risk.  

As of December 2022, 3D-printed guns are illegal after the UK Government updated legislation making these part of the 1968 Firearms Act. 

This announcement also follows the National Crime Agency's recent call to make the possession of 3D-printed gun blueprints illegal after a fourfold increase in seizures in 2022. 

Dyson added: “People who want 3D printed guns fall into two general categories – serious criminals who would look to get their hands on firearms anyway, and people who simply have a curiosity about guns but mean no harm.” 

Authorities are currently discussing a strategy to tackle the issue with fellow UK forces the National Crime Agency and the National Ballistics Intelligence Service. 

3D printing became popular in the early 2000s, with it later becoming common among different sectors for legitimate reasons. 

Although popular for a variety of legitimate uses, social media and the internet have made it easy for the criminal community to access simple ‘do it yourself; instructions for homemade firearms, with US Homeland Security going as far as saying the developments “present public safety risks”. 

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