It is difficult to judge from the NSW Police Commissioner’s warning on 3D printed guns whether he is trying to scare people out of using them, recommending them to criminals and terrorists, or trying to get something banned; probably the last.
First, he made mention of a ‘catastrophic misfire’ in one of the guns the police produced from online plans:
The NSW Police revealed that the force has created and tested two 3D-printed firearms. The police used the Liberator pistol blueprints produced by US-firm Defense Distributed. The original plans for the gun were downloaded more than 100,000 times before the company pulled them from its site under pressure from the US State Department.
Police believe that despite this, the files are still circulating.
The commissioner said that a Liberator pistol had experienced a catastrophic misfire during testing. The failure would have been capable of seriously injuring the person using the firearm, the police chief said.
One of the motivations for holding today's press conference was to warn of danger to the user if someone attempts to print, assemble and fire a Liberator out of curiosity.
There is of course no guarantee that the weapon was produced from the correct material, or along proper guidelines, nor any indication of the number of rounds fired prior to failure. With a round like the .380 ACP you are putting a lot of pressure on a plastic barrel.
He then goes on to complain (or in the eyes of crims and terro’s), compliment) the cheapness of construction, power, and easy concealment capabilities of the weapon:
When the pistol successfully fired, it propelled a bullet with sufficient force to kill a target, the police revealed. When tested using a block of so-called ballistic soap – a block of gelatine used for firearms testing – the shot penetrated 17cm, which could be a fatal wound, the police said. …
The police spent $35 on materials to create a Liberator and used a $1700 desktop 3D printer. The only metal parts used in the pistol's construction where the firing pin, created with a nail, and a .380 ACP calibre pistol cartridge. The all-plastic body means that the pistol is hard for security forces to detect.
Inspector Wayne Hoffman said the creation of a pistol took the police around 27 hours. Assembling the pistol's 17 parts took around a minute. Hoffman said that the police had exactly followed the original instructions for creating the Liberator, with a number of modified versions of the file currently in circulation. …
… The Liberator is "truly undetectable, untraceable, cheap and easy to make."
Then, the call for banning:
The government will have to consider whether regulating CAD files used to create 3D-printed firearms needs to be regulated, the commissioner said, but added he is "not sure that we're well placed globally to deal with he transfer and downloading of thee files" and that he doubts that regulations would be able to stop the files being shared and downloaded.
This idiot should have shut up after warning of the danger of weapon failure, rather than point out that the plans might still be available, and saying how effective it is.