man arrested for 3D printed Japanese guns

Japanese Man Arrested for Possession of Multiple 3D Printed Guns

By May 9, 2014. 3D Printing, Featured, Videos

Here we go again! Just when you thought it was safe to visit 3DPI without seeing another story about 3D printed guns, someone turns up in the news with a whole boatload of them. 27-year-old Yoshitomo Imura had been featured on our site once before for a video he posted to YouTube demonstrating his 3D printed zig zag revolver.  Strangely enough, it was that video that raised police suspicion that Imura possessed illegal firearms.

3D printed guns in Japan

ANN News reports that Imura downloaded the gun files from a foreign site and printed them with a 3D printer.  After seeing Imura’s video, authorities went to his Kawasaki City home and seized five different 3D printed guns, including the infamous Liberator Pistol. Though no bullets have been found, the police have said that it was possible for two of the guns to pierce over ten pieces of plywood, suggesting that they could be used to kill.rep rap 3D printed guns in Japan

He made the guns with a 3D printer purchased from the Internet for about ¥60,000 (roughly $590), much cheaper than the $20K Stratasys machine that Cody Wilson used to create Defense Distributed’s 3D printed guns. Japanese news suggests that the guns were made with resin, but ANN’s video shows a RepRap 3D printer and the guns themselves look as though they were created through the FDM/FFF process.  Not only is this, then, the first such arrest in Japan, but, if he did use a $600 RepRap, it is an early indication that functional firearms can be created with affordable desktop 3D printers.

Upon his arrest, Imura saidJapanese man arrested for 3D printed guns, “I made them myself, but, I didn’t know they were illegal.” He added, “I can’t complain about the arrest if the police regard them as real guns.”  For further insight into his actions, however, one might refer to a comment he made on one of his postings: “The right to bear firearms is a basic human right.

Gun laws in Japan are relatively strict, compared to the United States.  Though not entirely illegal, there are a long series of background checks that one must go through to obtain even a hunting rifle. According to the National Police Agency of Japan, these laws have resulted in only 15 gun deaths in the country in 2012, compared to a staggering 11,078 in the US in 2010, according to the Center for Disease Control. (The population of Japan was about 127.6 million in 2012 compared to the USA’s 313.9 million in 2012).

As is the case when 3D-printed gun stories pop up in the news, we’ll likely hear from lawmakers in the US, and possibly around the world, about restricting the creation of 3D printed guns, for fear that they will bypass metal detectors in airports and other public venues.  In the United States, there is at least one law banning 3D printed guns in Philadelphia, however, an effort to ban them nationally was curtailed.  We’ll see what new hype this latest story brings about.

If you’re interested in seeing the original video for Imura’s 3D printed zig zag revolver, you’ll be disappointed to know that it was taken down from YouTube. Fortunately, managed to get the footage into the following segment.

Source: Kotaku

  • Ben McLean

    The number of annual “gun deaths” comparison between Japan and the U.S. is not very meaningful. You have to adjust per capita, and also recognize that JAPAN IS AN ISLAND, while the U.S. has thousands of miles of border with gun-happy Mexico and moose hunting Canada

    • Harry

      Canada has strict gun laws, that’s why most Canadians don’t own a gun in the first place. First we would need to jump through hoops to get a gun licensed. Then of course you need another license to hunt each moose. No need to get too worried about gun toting Canadians hanging out at the Canada-USA border, it just isn’t gonna happen.

    • Mike Molitch-Hou

      Hi, Ben. I’m sorry for not doing the per capita math for the readers, but I did mention the populations of both countries and number of gun deaths, so that a bit of division could give you the per capita numbers. Without going too deeply into it, there are countries around the world with many more borders than the US has with fewer gun deaths. In Germany, which had a population of 81 million in 2010, there were only 158 gun-related homicides. With suicides and accidents, the country had about 1.24 gun deaths per 100,000 people. That is compared to 10.3 gun deaths in the US per 100,000 people in 2011. Germany shares its borders with 9 other countries, none of which I would like to make any vaguely stereotypical assumptions about.

      You’re right in saying that “the insane left wing fascist dream of confiscating all guns in the USA is a total fantasy” because it is a fantasy taking place in your own head. Most “liberals” in the US don’t want to take away anyone’s guns. Most of them just want stronger background checks to keep mental unstable people and individuals with violent pasts from obtaining guns.

      • Ben McLean

        Germany is part of the Schengen Area, so it’s kind of arbitrary to select Germany. You’d have to calculate it for the whole Schengen Area.

        • Mike Molitch-Hou

          Ok. How about South Korea, which has some of the strictest gun control in the world? The number of gun-related homicides per 100,000 people in 2006 was 0.

          • Ben McLean

            South Korea is a tiny peninsula which is practically an island. But regardless, I reject the premise of consequentialist ethics behind your argument.

          • Mike Molitch-Hou

            I’m not basing my argument off of consequentialist ethics, but off of the pragmatist ethics from arguments put forth by Matt Welch in The Declaration of Independents.

          • Ben McLean

            1. Guess what, I’m not a pragmatist either. 2. Isn’t pragmatism a form of consequentialism?

      • Keyser Soze


  • Clarkward

    I strongly suspect that were guns like the Liberator and the ZigZag made in any numbers by home printers (or even by commercial machines) that there would be a wave of people with hand injuries (or worse). I am a 2nd Amendment proponent, but these are a Bad Idea.

    • Keyser Soze

      I tend to agree, this is too much for people and im all for everyone owning a gun, made by a gunsmith at a reputable factory. Hey we can finally get guns through metal detectors in movies now though.