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Australian police seize 3D-printed gun parts and knuckle dusters in raid

Police have arrested an Australian man for alleged possession of a number of 3D-printed weapons and enough parts to make four separate handguns, in addition to other charges.

3D printed gun parts seized by Australian police. Queensland Police

Police in Australia have seized a haul of 3D-printed weapons and gun parts, in what law enforcement officials say is the first seizure of its kind in the state of Queensland.

Police descended on a 28-year-old man's residence just south of Queensland's Gold Coast, and said a subsequent search revealed a hoard of drugs, ammunition, a sawn-off .22 rifle and the 3D-printed weapons.

According to Detective Inspector Scott Knowles of Queensland's Major and Organised Crime Squad, the weapons included a set of 3D-printed knuckle dusters and "sufficient parts to make four concealable firearms" -- each with roughly 8 parts per weapon.

Detective Inspector Knowles revealed the parts were created on a 3D printer belonging to a commercial business. The printer had been left with the 28 year old in order to be calibrated. The man has since been charged with a number of drugs and weapons offences and is set to appear in court.

"With weapons and parts manufactured this way still being classified as a firearm under current legislation, people can also see themselves before the courts for manufacturing and possessing these items," Detective Inspector Knowles said.

3D printed knuckle dusters. Queensland Police

While firearms are not illegal in Australia, gun ownership has been strictly regulated since 1996 after a massacre carried out by a lone gunman in the Australian town of Port Arthur.

According to police, this is the first seizure of its kind that they are aware of in the state of Queensland. However, it's not the first time 3D-printed weapons have made news across the world, with the world's first 3D-printed gun shown off two years ago.

Texas-based company Defense Distributed revealed the proof-of-concept device, known as the "Liberator" in 2013. The Liberator features a small piece of steel inside the body to allow it to be identified by metal detectors, and United States Congress has since renewed a ban on all-plastic guns that contravene the US Undetectable Firearms Act.

Defence Distributed removed blueprints for 3D-printed guns from its file sharing website Defcad following requests from the US State Department. Despite this, the files popped up on The Pirate Bay less than a day later, bringing 3D-printed guns back within the reach of virtually anyone.