Monday, October 27, 2014

3D Martyr: Imura Gets Two Years for Thought Crime of Gun Design

Yoshitomo Imura has become 3D printing's first martyr.  He was sentenced to two years in prison for designing and producing blank firing guns on a 3D printer.   From
YOKOHAMA (Jiji Press) — The Yokohama District Court sentenced a former Japanese college employee on Monday to two years in prison for producing guns with a three-dimensional printer.
I have not seen that any of the guns actually fired a projectile; the only ones that I have seen on videos fired blanks.   Imura stated that he did not believe that he was violating the law.   Building blank firing replica guns (in Japan they use special cartridges that work the action) is said to be a popular hobby in Japan.  It seems that Imura's real crime was to show the technological capability of 3D printers.
The accused had “flaunted his skills and knowledge and attempted to make gun controls toothless,” the judge said.

Link to video:

 This  Plug firing gun is made in Japan.

It is highly likely that Imura used the cartridges available for "Plug Firing Guns"  to test his design concepts.  If you look at the video of his "Zig Zag" revolver, it is clear that the muzzles are obstructed so that no projectiles could be fired.

This may be why Imura thought that he was not breaking the law.  From
Plug fire cap (PFC) ‘modelguns’ were designed to comply with strict Japanese gun laws. The full metal models are made from zinc/alloy metal and more modern models are made from special heavyweight plastic resins. They are specifically designed to be totally impossible to convert into real firearms.
 The Telegraph reports that two of Imura's 3D printed guns could fire real bullets, but I have not seen any evidence that is so.    Imura's defense team stressed that the design included a feature to prevent them from firing real ammunition.
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.
It appears that the trial revolved about the question of how easily it would be to convert the printed models to fire actual cartridges.   I have not read of any actual test firing to show that the practicality of the action.

 The Japanese legal system has sent a clear message.   Imura's real crime was in challenging the idea that a disarmed population is desirable or practical.

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
Link to Gun Watch

No comments: