In 2021, the NSW State Crime Commands Drug and Firearms Squad established Strike Force Tamerang to investigate the increase of 3D-printed firearms, firearm parts and firearm blueprints being imported and manufactured in NSW.
Last week, following extensive investigations by Strike Force Tamerange, a man in Sydney’s western suburbs was arrested and charged after police located multiple unfinished 3D-printed firearms, firearm parts, and other material allegedly used in the manufacture of 3D-printed firearms.
Is using a 3D-printer to manufacture a firearm an offence?
It is a serious criminal offence to use a 3D-printer to manufacture a firearm or any parts which could be used to create a firearm, without an applicable licence.
Unlawfully manufacturing a firearm can carry a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment. This maximum penalty increases to 20 years imprisonment if you are caught unlawfully manufacturing a pistol or prohibited firearm.
Is it an offence to possess blueprints for manufacturing 3D-printed firearms?
Under section 51F of the Firearms Act 1996 (NSW), it is illegal to possess any blueprints or digital files which can be used for the manufacture of a firearm. ‘Possession’ for the purposes of this offence includes any file saved saved on your computer or any data storage device, such as a USB.
If you are caught with possessing a blueprint which could be used for manufacturing a firearm or firearm parts, the maximum penalty you could receive is 14 years imprisonment.
For more on possible penalties, see our sentencing page.
Photo by Cottonbro