German Attack Renews Fears Over 3D Printed Weapons

Just when you thought the paranoia over 3D printed guns was over, it comes back like the slasher in a horror flick.

The latest reason given appears to be the Yom Kippur attack in Halle, Germany. You see, we already knew that the suspect reportedly used a homemade firearm.


Well, it seems at least part of that weapon was made with a 3D printer. This has some in New Zealand concerned about 3D printed guns all over again.

Analysis: A shooting in Germany has raised questions around the world of the threat posed by 3D printed firearms. Is New Zealand equipped to deal with this challenge?

The man accused of killing two people in Germany yesterday after failing to break into a synagogue stated in his manifesto that he had 3D printed parts for his arsenal. Although the printed guns were not used to carry out the shooting, he said he had them in his possession for use as backup weapons.

The incident has raised questions around whether gun legislation and law enforcement are equipped to deal with the threat posed by a new and rapidly-advancing technology that allows anyone to make any item in the privacy of their own home.

Following the shooting in Christchurch, it’s understandable that New Zealand would worry about a similar attack on their shores. However, they’re also looking at this all wrong.

Yes, the alleged shooter built his weapon with at least some 3D printed parts.

The problem is that 3D printing wasn’t actually required.

The weapon itself is a derivative of a backyard submachinegun developed by a British man who believed gun control was fascist. A couple of years back, I noted that the weapon in question basically negated all gun control laws all on its own. If anyone can build a gun, then how are you going to stop them?

The concern over 3D printed guns is essentially the same. While you can ban certain files, they can still be passed along in a variety of ways. Those files are out there and people will still get them.


If not, they can get the original directions for an all-metal weapon that could also be constructed in someone’s workshop.

All this fear over illegally-manufactured weapons–especially in places like New Zealand and Germany with their strict gun laws and fear of an armed citizenry–is horribly misplaced. 3D printing is certainly a tool that’s useful in building your own firearms, but it’s not the totality of homebuilt firearms.

As such, expect the bad guys to still get their hands on firearms while the innocent are left defenseless in the face of evil. What happened in Halle, Germany was undeniably evil, even if incompetent at his appointed task. Gun laws didn’t stop him. Gun laws would never have stopped him. But they did stop anyone from being able to meet the threat presented with a lethal response.

Please, I beg of you, someone tell me how that made anyone safer?

If not for a set of sturdy doors, we’d be talking about a horrific massacre. Do you really want to trust a door with the totality of your safety? I know I sure wouldn’t, so why should we require that alone for anyone else?

Join the conversation as a VIP Member