When is a gun not a weapon? Swedish police worried about the rise in 3D printed guns

Police in the Swedish city Malmö have reported that criminals in the city are using 3D printers to make working guns.

The problem for the city’s authorities is that under Swedish law it is not a crime to construct or hold a 3D printed gun’s impotent individual parts.

It is only when they are assembled into a working firearm are they in violation of the Arms Act, which is a situation Malmö’s police chief, Stefan Sintéus, is uncomfortable with.

“It is obvious that the aim is to put the pieces together into a weapon. The only thing missing is a gun barrel and a bolt, so I call for a discussion of the limits on when it counts as a crime,” said Sintéus in an interview with Swedish news programme, Skane.

Image courtesy of Malmö police

The guns were seized in January and February of this year and were later tested, and proved to be working, at the National Forensic Centre.

Police reported finding one of the 3D printed guns during a city-wide criminal sweep, while the other firearm was discovered in a Malmö parking garage.

Both guns are reported to have been constructed in the same way: by disassembling a traditionally made gun, scanning the parts, and re-constructing them via a 3D printer, which are then assembled into a finished weapon.

According to Sintéus engineers performed test firings of the weapons on six different occasions, and can confirm they are indeed in working order. The firearms therefore now qualify as illegal weapons.

Image courtesy of Kamenev

Sintéus’ comments make it pretty obvious that the Malmö police department believe 3D printed guns ought to be restricted in the same way ordinary guns are.

He also noted that while these incidents occurred in Malmö, 3D printed guns are increasingly being used by savvy criminals and the trend was “more common in Europe”.

Like it or not, we are reaching a stage where we will have to legislate for 3D printed guns, as well as their constituent parts.

“It’s not possible to criminalize a 3D printer, but it is nevertheless true that we now have people in the criminal environment that have this kind of weapon,” said Sintéus.

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The UK government is launching a fintech competition to help renters get on the property ladder

The UK government is offering £2 million to fintech developers who come up with a tool that lets renters record and share their payment data.

The Rent Recognition Challenge, which was first announced as part of the chancellors’ autumn budget, will task developers with finding a way to record payment data from Britain’s 11 million renters in a bid to improve their credit scores and ultimately help them to get a mortgage.

“Most lenders and Credit Reference Agencies are unable to take rental data into account, because they don’t have access to it.

“The Rent Recognition Challenge will challenge firms to develop an innovative solution to this problem and help to restore the dream of home ownership for a new generation,” said the economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay.

Economic secretary to HM Treasury, Stephen Barclay. Image courtesy of Chris McAndrew

The competition will provide an initial round of grant funding to six promising proposals to help turn their ideas into workable products.

A panel of leading figures from the Fintech sector will then whittle the six down to just a handful of teams who will receive further funding and support to bring their ideas to market.

“People’s monthly rent is often their biggest expense, so it makes sense for it to be recognised when applying for a mortgage. Without a good credit score, getting a mortgage can be a real struggle.”

Image courtesy of Jeff Djevdet

The government’s attempt to help more people out of private renting arrangements and into home ownership comes after Scottish Widows published a report that warned tomorrow’s pensioners will have to find huge amounts of money to pay ever-escalating rents to private landlords.

Scottish Widows projected one in eight retirees will be renting by 2032, which works out to three times the number renting today. It also said there is a £43bn gap between the income and savings people have now and what the rent bill will be in retirement.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dan Wilson Craw of campaign group Generation Rent said: “The common perception is that retirees either own their home outright or have a council tenancy, so the government will be in for a nasty shock as more of us retire and continue to rent from a private landlord.

“Many renters relying on pensions will qualify for housing benefit which will put greater strain on the public finances.”

The Rent Recognition Challenge will open to applications early in the New Year, and development will conclude in October 2018.