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THINK BEFORE YOU PRINT

Your 3D printer and its products aren’t exempt from the Criminal Code. Learn the rules that apply to privately manufactured firearms.

WHAT ARE 3D-PRINTED FIREARMS GHOST GUNS PMFs LOWER RECEIVERS ?

Privately Manufactured Firearms – also known as Ghost Guns or 3D Printed Firearms are prohibited (illegal) firearms and/or firearm parts produced privately. Prohibited PMFs can be any type of firearm or lower/upper receiver. Regardless of terminology, these items are classified as firearms and are illegal to make, produce, or distribute under Canadian law. These have been a growing and concerning trend observed at ALERT and law enforcement agencies across Canada. Since 2022, 126 3D-printed firearms have been examined by the Provincial Firearms Solutions Lab.

Privately Manufactured Firearms are produced illegally by individuals, often with 3D-printers or do-it-yourself tools and computer plans acquired online.

Privately Manufactured Firearms undermine public safety and normal firearm licensing requirements as they have no serialization, testing or controls in place.

In Canada, Prohibited Firearms include any unlawfully manufactured firearm, regardless of the means or method of manufacture, including parts/receivers.

PMFs –
Broken Down

PMFs involve a mix of conventional and non-conventional firearm parts. The ability for customization and ease for regular people to illegally print these prohibited firearms is part of what makes them dangerous, lucrative to criminal networks, and a threat to public safety.

3D-printed Lower Receiver

Completed 3D-printed Firearm

Completed 3D-printed Firearm

3D-printed Magazines

Play Video about 3D-printed firearms, handguns, and rifles seized from Onoway, Alberta.

ALERT PMF
SEIZURES

Project Reproduction targeted illicit firearms trafficking and manufacturing through the seizure of 8 3D-printers, 11 completed 3D-printed firearms, 45 incomplete 3D-printed firearms, including frames and receivers, and 21 3D-printed firearms suppressors.

WHAT'S THE LAW ?

Firearms are barrelled weapons from which any shot, bullet or other projectile can be discharged.

Firearms are things that are capable of causing serious bodily injury or death to a person.

"Firearm" includes frames or receivers of such barrelled weapons and anything that can be adapted for use as a firearm

How does it apply to 3d printing?

Prohibited Firearms

Under Bill C-21, section 84 (1) of the Criminal Code was amended to include in the definition of Prohibited Firearm any unlawfully manufactured firearm regardless of the means or method of manufacture.

What does this mean? Any firearm, regardless of the type – or its classification if legally manufactured – is considered a prohibited firearm if it is unlawfully manufactured (such as privately machined or 3D-printed).

The legal status and consequences of trafficking firearm parts (e.g. prohibited devices; suppressors, magazines) aren’t dependant on their method of manufacture. Learn more about prohibited devices (Criminal Code).

Criminal Code s. 102.1 (1): “Every person commits an offence who possesses or accesses computer data that pertain to a firearm — other than a firearm that is deemed under subsection 84(3) not to be a firearm — or a prohibited device and that are capable of being used with a 3D printer, metal milling machine or similar computer system for the purpose of manufacturing or trafficking.”

What does this mean? Accessing, downloading, viewing any form of computer data – such as plans, graphic files, g-code, STL files, etc. that pertain to a firearm and that can be used with a 3D printer, metal milling machine or similar computer system for the purpose of making or trafficking a firearm is illegal.

Criminal Code 102.1 (2): “Every person commits an offence who distributes, publishes or makes available computer data that pertain to a firearm — other than a firearm that is deemed under subsection 84(3) not to be a firearm — or a prohibited device and that are capable of being used with a 3D printer, metal milling machine or similar computer system knowing that the computer data are intended to be used for the purpose of manufacturing or trafficking a firearm.”

What does this mean? Similar to Possession of Computer data, it’s also illegal to distribute, make available, sell, post online, etc. computer data pertaining to a firearm, that can be used with computer systems such as 3D printers, knowing that it’s for manufacturing or trafficking.

THE BREAKDOWN: GHOST GUNS

CBC’s The National joins ALERT and the Provincial Firearms Solutions Lab to learn more about Privately Manufactured Firearms and issues concerning 3D-printed firearms, breaking down how ALERT and partner agencies are trying to stay ahead of this rising threat.

Board of Directors

Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) involves images and/or videos that depict the sexual abuse of minors – the majority of which involve prepubescent children. Often, CSAM involves explicit and/or extreme sexual assaults against the child victim (Cybertip.ca).

Learn more about Internet Child Exploitation and ALERT’s integrated teams combatting this issue.

Ghost Guns are illegal, privately manufactured firearms or lower receivers. These weapons are often made with 3D-printers, and undermine public safety due to their lack of licensing requirements, serialization and safety controls.

Learn more about Ghost Guns on ALERT’s dedicated Privately Manufactured Firearms info page