In what appears to be the first sentence of its kind, a Japanese man has been jailed for two years for the crime of making 3D-printed guns and instructing others about the process.
28-year-old Yoshitomo Imura, who worked for the Shonan Institute of Technology, reportedly made several guns and also put a video online showing how he did it. Japan has very strict gun laws, and, following his arrest in May, Imura was sentenced on Monday for producing and possessing two functional firearms.
Imura’s design was known as the ZigZag. Although his defense team reportedly stressed that he designed in a plate to stop the weapons being fired, prosecutors said the plate was easily removed. This is apparently a video of the gun in question:
Cody Wilson, the American libertarian who arguably kicked off the current era of 3D-printed guns with his Liberator model, only incorporated space for one bullet. Imura’s ZigZag is a revolver that can take six .38 caliber bullets.
Once such designs are out there, it’s impossible to make them un-happen — something we will increasingly find with 3D printing in general, but most worryingly with weaponry.
That said, Imura’s fate will probably warn some people off dabbling in such things, certainly in Japan. It helps that the police there actually managed to correctly identify what they found as guns – unlike the British police that last year embarrassingly paraded what turned out to be 3D printer spare parts as gun components, following a raid on gangs.