First conviction for firearm manufacture using a 3D printer

A man has been convicted of manufacturing a firearm using a 3D printer, the first conviction of its kind in the UK.

Jun 19, 2019
By Tony Thompson

Tendai Muswere pleaded guilty to the charge at Southwark Crown Court today (June 19).

Officers from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) had executed a drugs warrant at Muswere’s home in October 2017 and during the course of the operation discovered components of a 3D printed gun, which was found to be capable of firing a lethal shot.

Muswere, who did not hold a firearms licence, told officers that he was printing the firearm for a university film project. He claimed not to be aware that the components he had made were capable of firing. He later refused to comment on what his film project was about.

However, a search of his internet search history revealed that he had viewed videos demonstrating how to use a 3D printer to manufacture firearms that fired live ammunition. The officers also discovered cannabis plants and evidence of cannabis cultivation.

A second raid on Muswere’s home in February 2018 resulted in the discovery of further components of a 3D printed gun.

MPS A/Detective Sergeant Jonathan Roberts, from the Central West CID, who led the investigation, said: “Muswere claimed that he was printing the firearms for a ‘dystopian’ university film project but he has not explained why he included the component parts necessary to make a lethal barrelled weapon. We know that Muswere was planning to line the printed firearms with steel tubes in order to make a barrel capable of firing.

“This conviction, which I believe is the first of its kind relating to the use of a 3D printer to produce a firearm, has prevented a viable gun from getting into the hand of criminals and is an excellent example of great partnership working between detectives, neighbourhood police and our forensic colleagues.”

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