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    Respected Member Rick's Avatar

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    Arrow Plastic Gun Made with 3D Printer in UK Scandal

    How Mail On Sunday 'printed' first plastic gun in UK using a 3D printer- and then took it on board Eurostar without being stopped in security scandal.


    • Weapon capable of firing a live round smuggled on to packed Eurostar.
    • Reporters passed unchallenged through airport-style security.
    • Pistol produced using £1,700 machine to 'print' its components.


    The Mail On Sunday today exposes the massive international security risk posed by a gun that can be easily made with new 3D printers.

    We built the weapon, which is capable of firing a live round, from blueprints available on the internet – then smuggled it on to a packed Eurostar train.



    Two reporters passed completely unchallenged through strict airport-style security to carry the gun on to a London to Paris service in the weekend rush-hour, alongside hundreds of unsuspecting travelers.






    We then walked through the usual security procedures, manned by UK Border officials. We placed our luggage and metal objects, including loose change and watches, in plastic trays which were then passed through airport scanners. But although we were carrying parts of a potentially deadly weapon, we were able to walk through a metal detector without triggering the alarm.

    While some passengers were patted down by security guards, we proceeded unchallenged to passport control, manned by French police.

    Once on board the packed 5.31pm Eurostar train on Friday, we were able to assemble the pieces to create a fully functional firearm in just 30 seconds, and pose for pictures close to unsuspecting passengers.

    We did not attempt to smuggle the firing pin or bullet for safety and legal reasons, but small metal items could be easily concealed.



    Last night, security experts and politicians said they were horrified at the implications of our investigation. Lord West, the former Labour security Minister, called for a review to see how the ‘extremely dangerous’ weapons could be better detected.

    But he said he was ‘not surprised’ that Eurostar checks had failed to spot the weapon because they were so hard to detect. He said: ‘What we need is a review of how we can look at these things and how we can discover them more easily. That will take work and it will cost money.

    ‘These weapons are extremely dangerous because they are very difficult to detect with the methods we normally use. This is going to be a real problem, no doubt about it. People are going to have to rethink whether we need more checks.’

    A Eurostar spokeswoman said last night: ‘Eurostar has a high level of security, with a number of checks as specified by the authorities in order to protect the integrity of the Channel Tunnel. We take any issue relating to security very seriously. We will be investigating immediately to fully understand the nature of this issue with our security partner which carries out checks on our behalf at St Pancras. We will also investigate the matter with the Department for Transport, who oversee our security operation, and specify the checks that need to be undertaken.’



    The Transport Department said the UK had ‘one of the strictest transport security regimes in the world’ and added: ‘This is kept under constant review in response to new or emerging threats, but we do not comment on specifics for obvious reasons.’

    Cody Wilson, a 25-year-old law student at the University of Texas spent the last year designing the weapon. A self-styled libertarian, he argues that everyone should have access to guns, and said last week: ‘I recognise the tool might be used to harm other people .  .  . it’s a gun. But I don’t think that’s a reason not to do it.’

    The US State Department last week rushed to ban the plastic firearm, but security sources fear the worst after the document was uploaded to file-sharing websites.

    One user, DakotaSmith, wrote: ‘This is the first in what will be an avalanche of undetectable, untraceable, easy-to-manufacture weapons that will turn the tables on evil-doers the world over. Share and enjoy.’

    Firearms experts advised The Mail on Sunday not to test whether the weapon would fire due to safety and legal concerns. But the lapse in security will shock travellers.

    Chris Yates, an aviation security analyst, said: ‘If Eurostar security can be breached in this way, then so can airport security processes.

    ‘Authorities should be extremely worried. The obvious danger is that if you have the ability to print out a gun on a 3D printer from a blueprint downloaded online, then the probability is that a terrorist has that capability as well .  .  . which could have devastating consequences. They could potentially cause a problem at 38,000ft that would cause the aircraft to crash or be hijacked.’

    Lord West added: ‘If you actually have to search people’s baggage and go through it all, travel becomes a misery and the terrorists, in a sense, have won. There has to be a balance.’ However, he said that more sophisticated scanners might be able to detect the 3D weapons.

    All of the major parts of the model were made using a program which reads files that tell the printer how to create each component from layer upon layer of plastic.

    The only other part of the gun is a 25mm metal piece, which acts as the firing pin, and can be purchased from any hardware store.

    The pistol can only be fired once using a .38 calibre round before the plastic barrel has to be replaced.

    The body of the gun was made in just a day with smaller parts taking only a matter of hours.
    In order to comply with gun manufacturing regulations in the US, Mr Wilson purposely designed his weapon with a steel component in the handle to make it detectable.

    But it is not essential, and the gun can still be fired without it.

    The Home Office said: ‘The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Anyone wanting to manufacture or own a firearm, including one produced through 3D printing, would need a licence. Anyone manufacturing guns without a licence is liable to prosecution.’

    The MoS, which carried out its investigations in the public interest, has now dismantled the gun.



    The only other part of the gun is a 25mm metal piece, which acts as the firing pin, and can be purchased from any hardware store.

    The pistol can only be fired once using a .38 calibre round before the plastic barrel has to be replaced.

    The body of the gun was made in just a day with smaller parts taking only a matter of hours.
    In order to comply with gun manufacturing regulations in the US, Mr Wilson purposely designed his weapon with a steel component in the handle to make it detectable.

    But it is not essential, and the gun can still be fired without it.

    The Home Office said: ‘The UK has some of the toughest gun laws in the world. Anyone wanting to manufacture or own a firearm, including one produced through 3D printing, would need a licence. Anyone manufacturing guns without a licence is liable to prosecution.’

    The MoS, which carried out its investigations in the public interest, has now dismantled the gun.




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