Citation(s) from the literature library

Dawson, Chris. 2014 ‘New Supply Challenges.’ Australian Crime Commission, Submission No. 75 to Senate Committee: Inquiry into the Ability of Australian Law Enforcement Authorities to Eliminate Gun-Related Violence in the Community; Submission No. 75 (Sections 27, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35), pp. 6-7. Canberra: Australian Crime Commission. 22 August

Relevant contents

New Supply Challenges


27. [I]t is unlikely that internet purchases are a major source for the Australian firearm trafficking market. The large pool of illegal firearms already in Australia, and traditional sources overseas, such as firearm dealers and organised crime groups, are more likely to be the key sources for illicit firearms in Australia…

3D Printers

30. 3D printing (3DP) has successfully produced working firearms, but at the time of this submission presents a low threat to law enforcement.

31. The current limitations of the technology will hamper 3D printing uptake in the criminal market over the next two years due to the cost of the machines and printing material, slow speed, limited size and level of detail of objects that can be printed, limited object strength and requirement to utilise design software.

32. At the time of this submission the ACC has not identified or been informed of law enforcement discoveries of 3D fabricated firearms being used or made by criminal entities in Australia.

33. The ACC has assessed that 3D fabricated firearms will probably pose a low threat for at least the next two years. This is because of the current limitations of technology result in a low quality product, firing capability is unreliable, and development is complex and costly. However, decreased costs and advances in technology associated with machinery and manufacturing programs sourced from the internet will likely increase the quality of illicitly manufactured firearms and components within Australia in the future.

34. Objects currently produced by 3D printers tend to be crude and require additional finishing processes. However, it is probable that if these limitations are resolved, particularly by falling prices and as the technology improves, there will be a growth in 3D printing adoption. According to open source reporting, these fixes are unlikely within the next two years, with technology professionals predicting that it may be another 5-25 years before the 3D printing environment is consumer-friendly.

35. 3D printers and materials are not subject to federal regulations as they have widespread legitimate applications. There is no offence in possessing or using a 3D printer. The ACC notes that firearms produced using new technologies are still subject to the licensing and registration requirements associated with any other firearm.

[ACC = Australian Crime Commission]

ID: Q11591

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