Canadians could face jail time for 3D printing guns

Aug 2 2018, 1:59 pm

Headlines were made south of the border this week after a US federal judge issued a temporary restraining order to stop the release of blueprints to make untraceable and undetectable 3D printable guns online.

On Tuesday evening, Seattle Federal Judge Robert Lasnik granted the Attorney General’s Office’s request for a temporary restraining order to stop an American company by the name of Defense Distributed from releasing plans that would allow someone to print a nearly all-plastic, single-shot handgun using a 3D printer and a blueprint.

That’s right, Americans could legally manufacture a weapon for personal use, without a serial number, making it untraceable and in some cases undetectable by metal detectors. No background check required.

3D printing guns

Defense Distributed/Facebook

However, Judge Lasnik’s ruling didn’t order the plans to be taken down from the site, rather it temporarily blocked a settlement reached in June between the Texas-based gun rights organization, and the federal government that allowed it to make the plans for the guns available for download on Wednesday, August 1.

Since June, Congressional Democrats have urged President Donald Trump to reverse the decision to allow Defense Distributed to publish its plans. Trump said Tuesday he’s “looking into” the idea, saying making 3D plastic guns available to the public “doesn’t seem to make much sense.”

So, what does this mean for Canadians?

Canada’s Ministry of Public Safety and spokesperson Tim Warmington said, “government officials are closely monitoring developments related to 3D printed firearms.”

According to Warmington, regardless of manufacturing methods, a business license is required to produce a firearm and all firearms are subject to the Firearms Act, the Criminal Code and their associated regulations.

To put it simply, the law applies to all firearms no matter how they’re made.

“It is illegal to manufacture or possess a firearm without the appropriate licence and applicable registration certificate,” Warmington told Daily Hive.

“The Firearms Act requires that a business, museum, or organization must have a firearms business licence to manufacture ammunition, firearms, restricted or prohibited weapons, or prohibited devices. A business licence is valid only for the activities specified on the licence.”

Anyone who violates the law faces up to 10 years in prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years for a first offence.

And while Canada has been known for being less prone to gun violence than its US neighbours, gun violence continues to rise at an alarming rate, especially in Toronto.

At a city council meeting last week, a number of motions were approved that would address gun violence in Canada’s largest city, which follows a mass shooting that took place on The Danforth just two days ago that left a 10-year-old and an 18-year-old deadinjuring 13 others.

This includes City Council approving a motion to “urge” the Federal Government to ban the sale of handguns in Toronto and the Provincial Government to ban the sale of handgun ammunition in the city.

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