The proliferation of digital plans to replicate a gun on the Internet and can be used to make a weapon on a consumer-grade 3D printer has always been a cause of concern for law enforcement agencies worldwide.
Well, not anymore in Singapore, after The Guns, Explosives, and Weapons Control Act, was passed on 5 January which imposes stiff penalties for gun and explosive offenses, and also tightens access control to weapons such as guns.
While the new Act makes it illegal to possess digital blueprints of guns without authorization to keep pace with technological changes, digital blueprints of imitation guns will not require a license for possession. Under the act, individuals and entities can face up to $50,000 and $100,000 maximum fines respectively
“Today, a person could easily find on the Internet materials for gun making and manufacture a fully workable gun using a 3D printer and a gun blueprint taken from the Internet,” said Minister of State for Home Affairs Desmond Tan.
But the intent is not to target those who could not reasonably be expected to have known that they possess such blueprints, such as someone who browses the Internet out of curiosity and finds a gun blueprint, which is temporarily stored in the browser cache, said Mr. Tan.
Unauthorized possession of a digital blueprint for a gun or gun part would include physically owning a storage device with such a document, or storing such a blueprint outside the country, such as in an overseas cloud storage service.
In a nutshell, the new Act ensures that the regulatory framework in Singapore remains robust as a strong deterrent in the misuse and mishandling of GEW (guns, explosives, weapons), which can have very serious consequences for our safety and security, while at the same time respects the need to allow legitimate uses for some GEW like replica guns and others.
While 3D printed guns are pretty much outlawed across the world, it is also true that the present state of 3D printing doesn’t quite allow high-quality guns to be produced as the plastic parts tend to blow up after being fired.
But with AM evolving rapidly especially with new materials development, the distant future could see it becoming a real threat. But this new Act will enforce the proper practices and security in handling this issue.