3D-Printed Weapons Raise Concerns

Reading Time: 2 minutes
A first in France, the 3D-printed weapons network will pose a great challenge to dismantle. (Image Credit: SkyNews)

In a groundbreaking development, French authorities have dismantled a vast network engaged in the production and distribution of 3D-printed weapons. This revelation, marking a first in France, highlights the intersection of technology, crime, and gun control policies. 

The operation, announced by Marseille’s Public Prosecutor Nicolas Bessone, led to the arrest of 14 individuals involved in the manufacture and sale of entirely plastic weapons created with 3D printers. This illicit network, based in Roquebrune-sur-Argens, Var, had operations extending into Belgium. The leader, a 26-year-old individual, now subject to a European arrest warrant, underscores the international scope of this criminal enterprise.

The weapons, dubbed “FGC (F*** Gun Control) 9 mm,” were priced between 1,000 and 1,500 euros on the dark web, utilizing cryptocurrency for transactions. This method allowed for a considerable price advantage over conventional firearms, such as the Kalashnikov, which typically sell for 5,000 euros.

What makes this case particularly alarming is the ease of access to these 3D-printed firearms, their lack of serial numbers, and near untraceability. Eric Henry from the Alliance police Paris syndicate emphasizes the potential dangers, stating, “It’s easy to make, and these are lethal weapons.” The concern is further amplified by the fact that these weapons closely resemble their traditional counterparts, being “close to 95% of the original model,” according to Colonel Hervé Pétry, chief of the national cyber unit.

Comparing the situation with the United States, where 3D-printed firearms have gained legality, the French case illustrates the potential threats posed by such weapons in a region with stricter gun control measures. The arrests, spanning regions like Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Île-de-France, Grand Est, and Occitanie, involved the seizure of eight 3D printers, seven 3D-printed weapons, and 23 conventional firearms. A total of 300 investigators from across France were mobilized for this operation.

The emergence of 3D-printed firearms poses a new challenge for law enforcement and underscores the need for enhanced vigilance in combating evolving threats. As Eric Henry warns, it is crucial to prevent this phenomenon from gaining momentum and becoming a common occurrence in France, given the potential implications for public safety and law enforcement efforts.

Written by Imane Moumen

Share this:

You may also like...