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3D-printed guns, firearm parts seized in first-of-its-kind search warrant for Stratford police

Stratford police seized more than a dozen 3D-printed firearms and gun parts during a search of a Stratford home on Monday.

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Stratford police seized more than a dozen 3D-printed guns and firearm parts after executing what police described as a first-of-its-kind search warrant for the local police service earlier this week.

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Stratford police Insp. Mark Taylor said the police service received information last week that someone was allegedly manufacturing firearms using a 3D printer in a Stratford home.

“We were provided the information earlier last week in regards to the possibility of a male having a 3D printer and making weapons – firearms and accessories for firearms – with that 3D printer,” Taylor said. “It’s very concerning that there are people in the city who have access to 3D printers and are using them for criminal activity.”

Following the search at the home on Monday, police seized a standard handgun and ammunition in addition to numerous plastic firearms and plastic parts for firearms made with a 3D printer.

“We seized more than a dozen (plastic guns and parts) and we don’t know how many more have been printed off and are out there,” Taylor said. “It’s happening in the city and it’s happening everywhere, apparently, where 3D printers are becoming more commonly used in printing firearms.

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“The problem is they’re made to look exactly like a firearm whether they fire or not. It’s going to be hard for us to identify the materials. They can get it from anywhere, this material they use to make the 3D firearms. I know they have to get a firing pin and a few other metal parts to go into that plastic firearm to be able to fire, but to track and find that would be impossible for us. This is the first time we’ve actually done a warrant to find firearms made on a 3D printer.”

As a result of the search, Stratford police arrested and charged a 23-year-old Stratford man with trafficking in firearms, weapons, devices or ammunition, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, unauthorized possession of a firearm, adult possession of a prohibited or restricted firearm, knowledge of unauthorized possession of a weapon, and careless use of a firearm or weapon.

While Taylor said this is the first search warrant executed for 3D-printed guns and parts in Stratford, the manufacture and distribution of 3D-printed guns or ‘ghost guns’ – a term coined to describe guns without serial numbers that are untraceable and can be bought online or elsewhere and assembled at home – is increasing in the province and across the country.

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Last month, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) intercepted and seized 3D printers and other devices and components bound for an address in Woodstock during a routine courier inspection that raised suspicion over the intended use of the printers. A joint investigation between CBSA, provincial police and the Woodstock Police Service led authorities to search the Woodstock address where they seized three additional 3D printers – one of which was in the process of printing parts for a ghost gun – as well as a fully assembled and loaded ghost gun, two 3D-printed gun frames, drugs, stolen property and cash.

A 33-year-old man and a 36-year-old woman, both from Woodstock, were subsequently charged with numerous weapons, drugs, customs and other offences.

In August, Sarnia Police found and seized a ghost gun while searching a Niagara Crescent home after receiving a report that someone in the home had been threatened with a firearm.

Earlier this year, police in Calgary executed two search warrants at two residences in May 2022 and allegedly seized 3D printers, five complete 3D-printed Glock-style handguns with magazines, five 3D-printed Glock-style lower receivers, and additional firearm parts including trigger parts, slides and barrels, and ammunition.


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