Canadians who make their own 3D-printed guns without a licence will face mandatory prison time if convicted, the federal government says.
“It is illegal to manufacture or possess a firearm without the appropriate licence and applicable registration certificate,” Jean-Philippe Levert, a spokesperson for Public Safety Canada, told Global News in a statement.
The Ministry of Public Safety issued the statement ahead of Aug. 1, when a U.S. firm is slated to post plans for a 3D-printed handgun on the internet. The plans can be used to make a nearly all-plastic, single-shot handgun using a 3D printer and a nail.
Americans can legally manufacture weapons for their own personal use, but doing so is illegal in Canada without a licence.
“Government officials are closely monitoring developments related to 3D-printed firearms, which do not change the law,” Levert said.
“Regardless of manufacturing method, a business licence is required to produce a firearm and all firearms are subject to the Firearms Act, the Criminal Code and their associated regulations.”
In other words, the law applies to all firearms no matter how they’re made.
Anyone who violates the law faces up to 10 years in prison, with a minimum mandatory sentence of three years for a first offence.
WATCH BELOW: What you need to know about 3D-printed guns
Here comes the Liberator
Designer Cody Wilson initially posted plans for the weapon online in 2013, but the U.S. State Department ordered them taken down on the grounds that they violated weapon export laws.
The Trump administration suddenly reversed course on the case this summer, settling with Wilson and agreeing to pay his legal fees.
The Liberator has sparked a number of legal challenges in the U.S., including several motions to ban it at the state level.
Law enforcement officials have raised concerns that the weapon does not trigger metal detectors, and could become an untraceable tool for criminals.
Experts in 3D-printing say the gun will explode if it’s not made with high-quality plastic and a top-end printer, which costs more than $10,000.
“It’s not a good gun,” said Dr. ginger coons, a 3D-design expert who does not capitalize her name.
Coons was part of a team that produced a non-functional Liberator at the University of Toronto in 2013. Her team stayed in touch with police throughout the process to ensure they weren’t violating any laws.
In addition to releasing the Liberator plans, Wilson will start selling a 3D-printing system that can be used to make an aluminum, untraceable AR-15 rifle.