The Japanese have very strict gun control laws and today’s arrest of a 27-year-old man shows the additional challenges the technologically proficient country faces in keeping them out of the hands of its citizens. The island nation only had 15 deaths by firearms in 2012 according to the National Police Agency.
3D Printed Guns: Apartment raided in April
The arrest comes a month after the police raided the house of Yoshitomo Imura in the Tokyo suburb of Kawasaki and found five guns made with a 3D printer, two of which could fire real bullets.
Imura, who purchased a 3-D printer for around ¥60,000 on the Internet, was quoted as telling investigators during the search, “I produced the guns, but I didn’t think it was illegal.”
“I can’t complain about the arrest if the police regard them as real guns,” he reportedly said.
The 27-year-old is, for now, an employee of the Shonan Institute of Technology in Fukisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture. Imura apparently posted footage of the guns as well as production blueprints online, and mentioned production on Twitter. The foolishness of “criminals” when it comes to posting their illegal activities on the Internet is clearly a global trend.
One of Imura’s postings carried the comment, “The right to bear firearms is a basic human right.” Something that Japan and its laws firmly disagree with at present. Japanese news media posted clips from a grainy YouTube video that apparently shows Imura firing one of the guns in a wooded area, something that may see the young man face additional charges.
Man with 3D Printed Guns blame Cody Wilson
American Cody Wilson put 3D printed guns on the map and plans for them on the Internet when he demoed his gun last year. His designs for “The Liberator” were downloaded over 100,000 times before the United States State Department threatened him into taking down the plans. Suffice is to say, those plans are still available from numerous other sources.
At least one of the guns found in Imura’s apartment appears to be a revolver, a weapon not designed by Cody Wilson.