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3D-printed gun maker in Japan sentenced to two years in prison

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A 28-year-old man who was arrested earlier this year gets the hammer

Photo of The Liberator, the world's first 3D-printed gun
Photo of The Liberator, the world's first 3D-printed gun
Justin Pickard/Flickr/CC-By-2.0

A 28-year-old former university employee was sentenced today in Japan to two years in prison for manufacturing plastic 3D-printed firearms in violation of national weapons laws, according to The Japan News. Yoshitomo Imura is said to have created at least two plastic guns at his home in Kawaski, Japan, that were capable of firing bullets, according to the report. He appears to be the first person in world history to receive a jail sentence for making 3D-printed firearms.

"flaunted his skills and knowledge."

Imura was previously an employee at the Shonan Institute of Technology, according to The Japan Times. He was arrested in May after posting videos and blueprints of his 3D-printed weapons online. Police reportedly seized five plastic weapons from his home. A video uploaded to file-sharing websites almost a year ago, allegedly created by Imura, shows the creation and firing of a 3D-printed "Zig Zag" revolver capable of firing six .38 caliber bullets, as Wired previously reported. While the prosecution in Imura's case called for a three-and-a-half year prison sentence, the judge certainly didn't go easy on Imura, saying he "flaunted his skills and knowledge and attempted to make gun controls toothless."

Japan has notoriously strict gun regulations, but Imura's case is not the first time in the world that authorities have tried to crack down on the burgeoning 3D-printed gun movement: police in the UK seized suspected 3D-printed gun components almost exactly a year ago, only to find out that they were likely just spare parts for the printer. The first 3D-printed firearm with firing capabilities (shown above) was unveiled and demonstrated in early 2013 by Defense Distributed, a cohort of anti-establishment gunmakers from Austin, Texas, who previously expressed support for Imura.